Komen Philadelphia and the Philadelphia School District Team Up for 4th Annual “Dollar Defense”
Unique initiative raises awareness for the cause and more than $13,500 to support the fight against breast cancer.
For the fourth consecutive year, Susan G. Komen Philadelphia has teamed up with the Philadelphia School District for “Dollar Defense,” a unique breast cancer awareness, education, and fundraising project that embraces students, faculty and parents of the 227 elementary and high schools in the District, as well as 80 charter schools. This year’s program raised $13,563 to empower the work of Komen Philadelphia as well as support research. The 2014 “Dollar Defense” brings the program’s four-year fundraising total to approximately $89,367.
“It’s so inspiring and energizing for the Komen Philadelphia community to see the passion with which these children embrace Dollar Defense. Every year the students, faculty and parents somehow top their activism from the year before,” said Elaine I. Grobman, Chief Executive Officer, Komen Philadelphia. “Some may say these children are too young to understand what they are doing… but that couldn’t be further from the truth. They know that they are helping save the lives of their grandmothers, mothers, aunts, sisters, teachers – and they are PROUD of it!”
“They have such confidence and conviction in their ability to make a difference and one day wipe breast cancer from this world – they are a lesson for all of us!“
Through “Dollar Defense” Komen Philadelphia and the District are helping children, as well as parents focus on the progress and positive change happening in the breast cancer movement, such as 3 million survivors in this country, advances in treatment and growth in survival rates. Also key to the outreach is helping students and parents feel hopeful instead of helpless.
“Dollar Defense” leverages the momentum of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, as well as Komen Philadelphia’s Pretty In Pig program, sponsored by Dietz & Watson. Pretty In Pig has a special appeal to school-aged children as it utilizes over-sized and desk-top piggy banks to raise funds for the cause and demonstrate that every dollar counts in saving lives.
Students had the opportunity to contribute $1 or more to the Pretty In Pig program, which benefits Komen Philadelphia, and participate in a special activity at their school in celebration of National Mammography Day on October 17. Each school/classroom determined its own activity based on the size and interests of the student population. Classrooms and schools were also encouraged to continue to fundraise from October 1 through October 17.
Another key element of “Dollar Defense” was education.
Komen Philadelphia and the School District sent letters to students, parents and faculty/staff, which explained the activities of the project, as well as provided basic breast cancer and breast health information. Students were educated via a letter with a few simple steps to take action – such as discussing concerns with their parents and reminding loved ones to get their mammograms. Adults received letters with more detailed information about breast cancer risks, signs and prevention, as well as how to access resources for screening and treatment in the Delaware Valley.
While not a required part of the program, teachers also have been experiencing students wanting to discuss breast cancer on their own level in the class room – which Komen Philadelphia sees as another important in driving more victories in the fight against breast cancer.
“Experiencing the student’s excitement for this program is truly inspirational to us as adults and as leaders in our community,” said Grobman. “More often than not, we find it is the children pushing the adults to make sure their classroom raises the most money to save lives, as well as to talk about breast cancer awareness. We have a responsibility to give these beautiful children what they have asked for – the opportunity to make a positive impact in their own lives, as well as in the lives of their loved ones.”
A resounding success in terms of fundraising, increased awareness levels and enthusiasm by participants, “Dollar Defense” was launched in 2011 and is now an annual program, which both groups feel will continue for many years to come. Each fall, Komen Philadelphia and the District embrace a family of teachers, students and parents who are primed to make the program even more successful than the year before with their energy, creativity and teamwork.
Top Fundraising Schools, Dollar Defense, 2014
Classroom and school fundraising from October 1-18 was totaled to determine the 2014 “Dollar Defense” winners. The top ten fundraising schools won a Dietz & Watson Grillebration on November 25. The top fundraising classroom, from Fox Chase Elementary, also won an onsite tour of CBS 3 Studios. The top 2014 fundraising schools were (listed highest to lowest fundraising total):
- Hamilton Disston Elementary
- Decatur Elementary
- Louis H. Farrell Elementary
- Fox Chase Elementary – Ms. Maggie Cathey’s 3rd-grade class at Fox Chase was also the top fundraising classroom
- Baldi Middle School
- John M. Patterson Elementary
- A.L. Fitzpatrick Elementary
- Alexander K. McClure Elementary
- Gilbert Spruance Elementary
- William Dick School
Pictured from the Dietz & Watson Grillebration celebrating the top 10 fundraising schools:
(top) Dr. William Hite Jr., Superintendent, with some of his District’s most dedicated fundraising students.
(bottom) Elaine I. Grobman, CEO of Komen Philadelphia, accepts the ceremonial check from Evelyn Sample Oates, Chief of Family & Community Engagement, School District of Philadelphia.