2016 Spreading Smiles Award Winners Announced

April 22nd, 2016

We’re inspired every year during our Spreading Smiles contest. The impact you have on your communities is truly amazing to witness and provides us with inspiration to serve our own communities. As always, it was difficult to narrow down who our winners would be since we received so many wonderful entries. Without further ado, your 2016 Spreading Smiles Award Winners:

Spreading Smiles 1st Place –  Newbury Anti-Bullying Club, Newbury HS, Newbury Township, OHsuicide prevention

Students work with a local group to increase awareness of mental health struggles in our community. They participated in Hiram College’s Suicide Awareness Walk by handing out ribbons with inspirational messages and have created a tree mural to fill with thumbprints. The students in this club are working to spread awareness of mental health problems and help develop coping strategies for the students in our school as well as our community. They are volunteering at a local event and working with community members to spread positive messages in the school. The students started the club with a novel about a girl dealing with suicide, which made them want to make a difference in their school to prevent things like that from happening. Working with the community helps the students feel like they are working for something greater than themselves. These funds will allow them to be trained as student mentors so that they can serve others. They plan on hosting monthly seminars with small student groups to teach ways to cope with everyday problems and plan to create boxes for classrooms to send positive messages to others throughout the school.

Spreading Smiles 2nd Place – Shoe Drive, Break-O-Day Elementary School, New Whiteland, IN

shoe driveMrs. Ray’s 3rd-grade class  held a month-long shoe drive to collect shoes for people in our community who are less fortunate. The students created signs to post throughout the school, created daily announcements, as well as a video to spread the word about our shoe drive. We collected over 750 pairs of shoes! The students contacted a local organization that collects shoes to speak to us about our shoe drive idea and discovered that there is a great need for shoes for the homeless and needy in our community. We also found there was need for shoes in our own school, so we started a shoe pantry here. Our project came about organically when our class was discussing world cultures and how some people around the world are less fortunate that us, and do not even have shoes to wear to school.  The class proposed the idea to our principal of collecting shoes, and it took off from there. This money will allow us to purchase new shoes and shoelaces to distribute to those in need in our community. The donated shoes do not always come with shoelaces, so the funds will assist in purchasing shoelaces so ALL of the shoes can be utilized.

Spreading Smiles 3rd Place – Blankets of Hope, Highland Elementary School, Evansville, IN

Cheerful blanketsOur students were able to make 120 blankets for area hospitals to make the neonatal units more cheerful. Our students wanted to help the families during an emotional and stressful time and hoped that they could make families feel better by making the units more cheerful. By providing colorful, cheery blankets to cover crib mattresses and large tie blankets to cover the large giraffe beds for those premature babies who need more darkness (to simulate the womb), we are giving the families and the hospital staff a more welcoming and cheerful environment. Students created a budget, found the best quality for the cheapest amount, calculated how many yards were needed, measured out the sizes, and worked together to complete this project. With this award, we will add to the blankets we have already created; especially since hospital laundry departments mush use harsh chemicals. Our students want to donate books to the Pediatric units and plan to make tie blankets for the pediatric patients as well.

Congratulations to all of our Spreading Smiles winners and thanks to all who submitted entries this year.