When Izzy West and Stephanie Glance exchanged high fives last week, neither the fourth-grader nor the retired college basketball coach-turned nonprofit director was thinking about death or the trauma of cancer.
But there they were together on the floor of the Carver Elementary School gymnasium following a check presentation that brought students a little more knowledge of the illness and the value of giving. And Glance and her organization, the Kay Yow Cancer Foundation, were $1,000 better off after students gave her the money they had raised.
West and her classmates at Carver were invited to a special assembly May 19 to present a check to Glance and the Kay Yow Fund, which raises money for women’s cancer research and care.
Led by the student council, Carver Elementary students dug deep for a couple weeks to raise money for the program. It’s part of a year-long effort by guidance counselor LuAnne Underhill to teach students the value of giving. At other points during the year, students have collected coats and taken part in a food drive. And when Underhill, who worked as graduate assistant coach with the N.C. State women’s basketball team under Yow, visits classrooms she has incorporated mini-lessons on the importance of giving.
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“This was something we haven’t done. We haven’t really done anything around death this year. And we didn’t really dwell on the death aspect of cancer, but the students know when someone is dying they can’t necessarily stop it, but there are other ways to give back,” Underhill said.
The classes that raised the most money were invited to Thursday’s assembly. The students got an object lesson from Glance, who served as an assistant women’s basketball coach under Yow before taking the position as director the Kay Yow Fund.
Glance brought out two balloons and let them go. One floated to the ceiling while the other fell to the floor. She explained that the balloon that rose to the ceiling had hope and that hope is important for people who have cancer and for those who are battling to find a cure for the illness.
After the assembly, Glance said the students’ efforts were similar to Yow’s. “If you ever talk to anyone who really knew Kay Yow, they would tell you what a giving person she was. This is a great thing that LuAnne has put together here. (The students) really are learning that they have the ability to give just like everyone else,” Glance said.
The leading fundraising class for the program was Lavonna Chilton’s fourth-grade class.