Riverside Elementary School third-, fourth- and fifth-graders participated in a mini-Match Day as part of the Growing Up Giving program Wednesday morning.

The event leads up to the Emporia Community Foundation’s 2019 Emporia Area Match Day event, which is set for 9 a.m. - 7 p.m. Monday at the Flinthills Mall.

ECF Executive Director Becky Nurnberg said the Growing Up Giving program gives schools which otherwise would not be able to participate in Match Day a chance to learn about the 25 area organizations that were selected to be part of this year’s event.

“The reason we do these mini-Match Days is because the kids don’t have school on Match Day,” Nurnberg said. “Since they can’t come to us, we come to them. It’s really exciting, because the teachers work with the kids ahead of time and they do the research on the different organizations.”

Area banks donate funds to the Growing Up Giving program and each classroom receives $100 to be donated to Match Day organizations. Each class is charged with deciding which organizations it wishes to support.

While only 10 organizations were selected via lottery system to attend the mini-Match Day, Nurnberg said that did not guarantee that students would fund their organizations. Last year, she said, students at Logan Avenue Elementary School did not donate solely to organizations that had tables set up during their mini-Match Day.

“The kids did their research and selected groups that didn’t happen to be there,” Nurnberg said. “They do their research and they decide who they want their money to go to. It teaches the kids about the different causes and the different organizations in the community, but it also teaches them math. They only have $100 that they get to divide up, and they have to use their math skills and they have to use debating skills.”

Students had about four minutes at each table and spent those minutes wisely, asking questions about the organizations and what funds get used for each year.

Carla Fessler, who is the student support specialist at Riverside as well as the camp coordinator for Camp Alexander, said she was proud of the teachers and students for engaging so well with the process. One teacher, she said, created a Powerpoint presentation of all the Match Day organizations and shared it with the rest of the participating teachers.

“I think that made it even easier to make the kids enjoy and help them make informed decisions,” Fessler said. “The kids are really enjoying it, and I think it’s really great. I’m so excited for Monday now.”

Fourth-grade Teacher Randielle Houser said mini-Match Day was a great experience for her students because it offered a hands-on learning opportunity.

“The kids have enjoyed learning about the different organizations and how they help our local community,” she said. “The children are proud to be able to select groups to actually donate to through the generosity of our sponsoring banks. The monetary donations from the banks really made this experience real to our students because they have the money in their hands to designate where they want to make a difference. The Growing Up Giving program, through the Emporia Community Foundation, provided the students with the gift of learning about philanthropy through an engaging experience that will leave a lifelong impression on the children. I am so thankful that Riverside was invited to be a part of this enriching experience and proud of the Emporia community for making it happen.”

This year’s matching funds have increased to $60,000, which all goes to participating organizations. The 2019 Match Day funders are Clint Bowyer’s 79 Fund, the Hopkins Foundation, the Preston Trust, the Jane and Bernard Reeble Endowed Fund, the Trusler Foundation and the Walter S. and Evan C. Jones Testamentary Trust and Bank of America, N.A., Trustee.

The 25 charitable organizations participating in Match Day are Arvonia Historic Preservation Society, Friends of the Emporia Public Library, Camp Alexander, Hispanics of Today & Tomorrow, Chase Children’s Fund, Keep It a Safe Summer Taskforce, Chase County Historical Society and Museum, Lyon County Crime Stoppers, Inc., ECKAN – Lyon County, Main Street Mommas, Emporia Area Habitat for Humanity, Military Care Packages, Emporia Celebrates the Flint Hills, NLC Youth Association, Emporia Eastside Community Group North, Lyon County Veterans Memorial Project, Inc., Emporia Municipal Band, Pioneer Bluffs, Emporia Sertoma Club, Team Schnak Strong Fund, Eskridge Park Foundation, Wade Barrett Memorial Fund, Food For Students, William Allen White Community Partnership, Inc. and Friends of the Emporia Animal Shelter.

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