During a celebration Friday afternoon at the school, Zeta Xi members gave the fourth-graders $1,200 to pay forward to the recipients of their choice.
The students decided to give the money to the animal shelter at the Brush Police Department, Morgan County Relay for Life, Eben Ezer Lutheran Care Center, Caring Ministries of Morgan County, East Morgan County Hospital, and Wyatt Kolman, a local student fighting brain disease.
“Every year we are always pleasantly surprised with the efforts and thoughtfulness you and your teachers have put into your choice of recipients,” said Zeta Xi member Colleen Muhr.
She said the sorority works throughout the year to raise the funds for the program.
“We hope this Pay it Forward allows the fourth-grade class to learn how a simple act of kindness can change the lives of many,” she said. “It takes just one person, one action, one idea to spark interest and inspire change.”
Marcia Petterson's class chose to offer a portion of the funding to the animal shelter, which will use the money to upgrade the floors and repaint the building.
Lacey Hastings' class contributed to Relay for Life.
Event Chair Cara Draegert said the funding will be used for the fight against cancer.
Theresa Schaffer's class selected Eben Ezer as a funding recipient. Facility Administrator Amy Robbins and Program Coordinator Shaire Chavez said the money will help promote a homelike environment through the Eden Alternatives program.
Jamie Dewey's class decided to contribute to Caring Ministries. Director Bobbi Meng said the funds will be used to purchase gifts for underprivileged children through the Christmas Club program.
Donna Lynch's class donated a portion of the funding to EMCH. CEO Gavin Carmichael said the money will be used to purchase DVD players and books for the hospital's young patients.
Joyce Sperry's class chose to offer financial assistance to Wyatt Kolman. His family planned to use the funds to offset the cost of traveling to Children's Hospital in Denver for appointments.
Muhr said students in past years have donated the funds to a variety of recipients, including Blue Horizons Inc., the City of Brush, the American Red Cross, East Morgan County Library and many other individuals and organizations.
A few of the past recipients attended Friday's celebration to talk about how they put the funding to use.
“I was overwhelmed by the generosity of the community after the death of my husband last year,” said past recipient Joyce Sperry, who used the Pay it Forward funds to send children to a summer camp in the mountains.
Lt. John Fryar said the Brush Police Department used a donation from the students to clean and improve the cages at the animal shelter, and Brush Fire Chief Paul Acosta said local firefighters used the money to purchase smoke detectors for people.
“Pay it Forward has created an awesome ripple effect in our community and beyond,” Muhr said. “You have all touched a lot of hearts with your generosity.”