School Spotlight: Yorkville Elementary School

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JDRF is excited to shine the Kids Walk School Spotlight on Yorkville Elementary School in Union Grove, WI. Yorkville Elementary is home to 425 students, in grades kindergarten through eighth, four of whom have type 1 diabetes (T1D). The school held its first JDRF Kids Walk in the 2011-2012 school year, and from the very beginning it was evident that this was going to be a high performing school!

JDRF staff and volunteers visited the school for their kickoff assembly, in which three of the Yorkville students with T1D proudly participated and answered questions about daily life with the disease. By speaking, the students felt they were better understood by classmates and were able to convey the message that even though they face a challenge, they can do whatever their classmates can do.

“Seeing the engagement, interaction, and thoughtful questions the student body was asking of their classmates was truly inspiring!,” says JDRF Development Coordinator Erin Hennessy. The students with T1D felt a sense of pride knowing their school showed such great support, while the entire student body and staff at Yorkville walked away with more knowledge, ready to sell the JDRF paper sneakers and display them proudly on walls throughout their school.

In addition to the cool Difference Maker Awards and other benefits the Kids Walk program offers, Yorkville Elementary chose to add even more incentives! Led largely by Deana Knutson, health aide and mom of a T1D student at the school, the school held a “Pajama Day” and a “Favorite Sportswear Day,” on which the students could dress up for a small donation. This really helped produce more excitement for the Kids Walk program!

Motivated by movie theater gift cards for the top three fundraisers, the students were excited to see how many new JDRF sneakers were hung in the hallways every day. The school displayed a “class totals” chart to track progress. The students looked forward to seeing which class had raised the most funds, as the grade that raised the most money received a movie and popcorn party...all in friendly competition!

Students at Yorkville took advantage of Kids Walk online fundraising tools by creating their own fundraising websites and sending out e-mails to families and friends. Some students even asked their parents to e-mail co-workers to help boost their fundraising efforts! The school raised $800 online toward its total.

Yorkville Elementary also involved the community in their fundraising efforts by having a local recycling center join in. Community members could drop off recyclable items to the center and request the value of the materials be donated to the school and put toward the Kids Walk. All of these additional activities really helped to drive the fundraising for the Kids Walk. Deana says, “I would highly recommend any school host a JDRF Kids Walk. It was so easy to do and it was a great learning experience for everyone! We wanted to do this JDRF fundraiser to help educate our school and community and raise money for a great cause. But, we also got to see how great our school spirit is! We are so proud to say that we raised more than $10,000!”

Thank you Yorkville Elementary School!

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