School, businessman and A Special Wish have ongoing connection

A Special Wish Foundation — Dayton (ASW) has been granting wishes for 33 years, and for 29 of those years, Smith Middle School in Vandalia has helped make this happen. Generations of children, though in very different circumstances, have been giving back to ASW’s mission.

Each year, fourth- and fifth-grade classes participate in penny wars, dinner with Santa, which began in 2015, and new in 2016 was a read-a-thon. Every single penny earned during these fundraisers that take place in November and December, is then donated to ASW. In 2016 alone, the students at Smith Middle School raised over $10,000.

This collaboration began in 1987, after students wanted to find a way to give back to others. Rose Chin’s fifth-grade class decided that instead of exchanging gifts, they would adopt a charity, and A Special Wish Foundation — Dayton was selected. Word of the class’ efforts quickly spread and caught the attention of local businessman Bob Crotty.

Inspired by the young philanthropists, Mr. Crotty offered to match what students raised each year. After a few years of matching the student donations, he became a permanent member of Smith Middle School’s fifth-grade class. “One of the highlights of my year is driving to Vandalia and walking into the school to match the amount the students have raised. I am touched by what these children do, learning to be charitable,” Bob said. “I can only hope, by my giving, that I can inspire other partnerships to form between potential donors and teachers, schools and students.”

Fifth-grade teacher Kim Imwalle said, “Nowadays, it’s all about test scores and performance, and we don’t slow down enough to say, ‘These things are important, too.’ We want to teach the students to appreciate what they have, as well as help those who may not be as fortunate.”

A Special Wish Foundation — Dayton is incredibly thankful and honored by the fundraising efforts made by the students at Smith Middle School. And it just goes to show, no matter the age, no matter the circumstance, every one of us can make a difference!