Monday, November 30, 2009

Winter fundraising traditions

When my kids were little they attended Lafayette Elementary in West Seattle. Every year Lafayette held a craft fair in which the kids sold crafts they had made themselves. The range was amazing, the prices were impossible, and we absolutely loved it. Even after the kids left Lafayette we kept going back to the craft fair. Some of my favorite holiday and birthday gifts came from there. It will be on the evening of December 4 this year.

Coming soon is the NOVA craft fair, on Tuesday, December 8, from 6:00-8:30pm, at The NOVA Project (at Meany). It features handmade crafts for sale plus make-and-take craft projects that you do yourself. There will be food available and a non-perishable food drive. For more information, visit the NOVA PTSA web page.

What are the winter fundraising traditions at other schools?


adhoc said...

AE2 (now Thornton Creek) also had a holiday craft fair that we loved and still go back to! Most crafts were handmade by the children and were quite impressive!

Other fundraisers, while just as succesful, haven't been as much fun or communal.....selling gift wrap, wreath sales, etc

Thanks for the heads up on the NOVA craft fair. I'll drop by and do some Christmas shopping!

Chris said...

Thornton Creek still has the "bazaar." It's Thursday December 10 this year, after school.

from the school newsletter:
"You'll find lots of unique handmade treasures, including jewelry, dolls and stuffed animals, clothing and accessories, ornaments, books, and cards that you just might not be able to find anywhere else! There will also be a raffle, pizza, and baked goods for sale after the school day ends"

Butter Goats said...

Green Lake Elementary is famous for its Christmas tree sale! The lot is now open daily, starting at 4 on weekdays and all day on the weekends. We've also got wreaths and swags! 2400 N 65th, just west of the main entrance.

dave said...

Stevens elementary will be having its annual tree sale this Saturday, Dec 5, 11am - 4pm.

mkd said...

n case you didn't notice, the holidays have arrived. With so many out of work, the choice for many is heat or food. No one should ever go hungry. St. Mary's food bank, located at 20th and Jackson is struggling to meet the communities growing needs. Regardless of the name, the food bank is not a part of the church nor affiliated with any religious institution. We are a nonprofit and secular organization, St. Mary's kindly has donated the space for our use and often provides volunteers whenever the need arises. Last year, we served over 70,000 people. This year, it will be many more.

If you are in need of food, you may come to the food bank once a week, from 10:00am to 1:00pm on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Please bring some form of ID. You do not need to be from Seattle and no one will ask your legal status.

If you have a child under two and live within the city of Seattle, we have a baby kitchen the first full week of every month. Though it is not much, we can give you some diapers and baby food. For babies under 6 months, we also provide wipes and formula. Again, we ask that you bring some form of identification for the child (medical coupon or birth certificate). From 20 to 25 babies when i started with the Baby Kitchen, some months the "kitchen" serves over 200.

On December 15, 17 and 19, the food bank is giving away what we can so that none go hungry during the holidays. The need is great and people begin lining up very early.

If you'd like to help, we could use some extra helping hands.

How about a classroom or school project? Collect nonperishables from now until Christmas to donate to the food bank.

Need service hours? The food bank is a great place to volunteer year round. Washington Middle school students and high schoolers from as far away as Bellevue come once a week for a couple of hours to help.

The need is so great and donations are down. We really need your help.

If you're interested, call me, Mary 650-534-7117 (cell)

St. Mary's Food bank
20th and Jackson
206-324-7100, push the no. 4 for the directory, you want to speak with Deep or Annie.

mkd said...

I forgot to add, St. Mary's food bank is the second largest food bank in Seattle and relies on the generosity of those in the community to feed the growing line of hungry people that wraps around the block long before we open at 10:00am, many are elderly or families with young children,

Aurora said...

I grew up in a town far from here where schools had largely adequate funding and find all of these fundraisers kinda sad. We should fund all schools -- suck it up and pay taxes.

owlhouse said...

Thanks for the post, Charlie. Nova's craft fair will have crafts for all ages starting at $1. Nothing over $10. View our Evite here. All proceeds benefit the Nova Family Support Program, serving students in need.

I hear you, Aurora, on the depressing nature of fundraising for schools. Clearly, chronic underfunding and financial mismanagement harm public education. On top of that, what happens in our school communities we constantly have to pass the hat? When and how do we gather to support and celebrate our schools communities and not view it as a fundraising opportunity? Where else might parent and PTSA energy be spent in place of filling budget gaps?

zb said...

And, if you don't make it physically to food banks and food donation sites, there's Food Lifeline:

A few thanksgivings ago, we had to break it to our four-year-old that there were people who did not have food. At first, he thought we were joking. Then, he thought that only in other places (China, India) would people not have food. Eventually, though we convinced him, and I understood his reluctance, because as a child, I remember not understanding, at all, how in this land of plenty, there could be people without food.

adhoc said...

There are many ways for a community to gather without it being a fundraising event. John Rogers elementary has a fall carnival that is not a fundraiser, but a community building event. Nothing is sold, it's just fun and games for the whole family!

AE2 (now Thornton Creek) had tons of non fundraising family events like the talent show, school plays, music recitals, portfolio/expedition night, etc. And their holiday craft fair used to be a break even event, not a fundraiser (not sure if it still is??). Kids who requested it, got a table, made and sold their crafts, and kept 60% of their profits (really inspired young entrepreneurs). They gave the other 40% of their sales back to the school (inspired a sense of giving back to their community) which helped pay for the pizza, pop, decorations, etc.

PTSA's certainly do sponsor non fundraising events, like science fairs, school dances, camping trips, etc. But they could do more in this area...

Melissa Westbrook said...

I agree that
(1) it is depressing that PTAs are having to step up to fund things that really should be the district's responsibility
2) it takes attention away from just having events like a carnival. At Whittier we also (used) to have Family Math Night which was terrific fun and a good way to help parents and kids think differently about math.

mkd said...

At a doctor's appointment today, I was happy to see that Swedish Cherry Hill are collecting food for St. Mary's. I've heard from other schools, several in Central District, who have also placed boxes or bins to collect nonperishables, including baby food and formula and diapers (especially size 2).

ArchStanton said...

Olympic View has a great Halloween/Fall Carnival every year. I think it is a fundraiser, as well, but it doesn't really feel like it and is a bunch of fun.

Joan NE said...

Just want to let you all know that with the help of a former Board member, I am writing up a voters pledge. Please write to me at if you can help with settinp up a website, circulating pledge forms, reviewing the draft pledge, or other small tasks.

you can reach me at

mom2two said...

Lawton Elementary PTA is also having a Tree Sale. Thursdays and Fridays from 5/8 and Saturdays and Sundays from 10/8. At the intersection of 27th and W.Elmore in Magnolia.
Hope to see you there !

h2o girl said...

This weekend (Fri-Mon) Salmon Bay is having a book fair at the University Book Store. If you tell the cashier you are an SB supporter, the book store will donate 25% of your purchases to the school, and they are offering free gift wrap and free shipping. There is also free validated parking, Salmon Bay student artwork hung through out the store, a puppet show on Friday night, an edible book contest on Saturday, and on Sunday, a musical performance by former and current Salmon Bay students.

emeraldkity said...

speaking of crafts- I mourn the passing of Summit and their focus on the arts.

I would like to leave you with this article which I found summarized very well why arts are important in education

From the education blog The Answer Sheet @ the Washington Post

Johns Hopkins University and the Dana Foundation hosted a conference titled “Neuroeducation: Learning, Arts and the Brain.” As the title implies, the goal was to bring together researchers considering, from an educational point of view, the impact of the arts on the brain. A book-length summary of the May conference just became available as a free pdf, available here.

Some great neuroscientists participated, including Mike Gazzaniga, Liz Spelke, and Mike Posner. The keynote speaker was Jerry Kagan, one of the leading researchers in developmental psychology. His address offered six reasons that the arts should be included in school curricula.

Kagan commented that Americans are pragmatists. They respect endeavors that cure a disease or make money, and they view the arts as luxuries. Kagan was careful to point out that his arguments stuck to the practical.

First, he estimated that something like 95% of children are capable of doing the work necessary to obtain a high school diploma, yet the dropout rate hovers around 25%. Too many of these students quit because they decide (usually in about the fourth grade) that school is not the place for them. This decision is based largely on their perception of their performance in reading and mathematics. The arts, Kagan argues, offers such students another chance to feel successful, and to feel that they belong at school.

see next post

emeraldkity said...

Second, Kagan argues that children today have very little sense of agency—that is, the sense that they undertake activities that have an impact on the world, however small. Kagan notes that as a child he had the autonomy to explore his town on his own, something that most parents today would not allow. When not exploring, his activities were necessarily of his own design, whereas children today would typically watch television or roam the internet, activities that are frequently passive and which encourage conformity. The arts, Kagan argues, offer that sense of agency, of creation.

Third, Kagan argues that the arts offer a unique means of communication, using representations in the mind other than words, which are at the core of most school subjects. Kagan offers an evocative personal example. He had read about the distinction in Japanese culture between two modes of social interaction. One emphasizes politeness, and one cannot always express all that one thinks. In the other mode, appropriate for intimate associations, one may speak freely. Kagan noted that his understanding of this distinction was much richer after viewing paintings at the Tokyo museum that used this theme, for example, one of two gulls flying, one with its feet visible, the other with its feet tucked out of sight. The arts communicate in ways that words do not.

Fourth, participation in the arts allows children to see the importance of creating beauty, of creating an object that others may enjoy. When a child gets an A on a math test, the immediate benefit is to the child alone. But when the child creates a drawing, she makes something for the pleasure of others as well.

Fifth, the arts offer an opportunity for children to work together. Most school work is solitary, but when a band is congratulated for a performance it is the band as a whole that receives the compliment, not the individual child. Kagan ties this value to a larger moral complex. Too many of children’s activities are solitary, and solely for the child’s benefit. Morality and concern for others grows, in part, from understanding what it means to have a common fate.

Sixth, the arts provide a chance for children to express feelings that they otherwise might be unable to express. Kagan cites data showing health benefits for this sort of self-expression; several studies have shown that writing, even briefly, about emotional conflicts reduces illness and increases feelings of well-being. Kagan proposes that similar benefits might accrue from artistic expression.

Yes, core subjects like reading, math, history, civics, geography, and science are important. But the arts should not be treated as a luxury to be indulged should time allow.

Leslie said...

Pathfinder Alt K-8 makes and sells wreaths with all proceeds going to Outdoor Education a huge part of our expeditionary learning focus.

It is a HUGE amount of work with gathering, making and selling the wreaths both at and from school to neighbors and friends and several years now at the WS Farmers Market -

Each class gets shares for the kids and families' work gathering greens, making bows, making the wreaths, and selling -

Call the school and come on by - or come to the WS Farmers Market next Sunday - we'll be there -

Truly Scrumptious said...

This week (Tues, Weds, Thurs) AS1 is wrapping gifts at the Northgate Barnes & Noble. 4pm - 10pm.

Nancy said...

Such a lovely fundraising idea! Another elementary school fundraising idea that PTA groups can explore is Adopt-A-Classroom, a national nonprofit that's dedicated to helping teachers and improving the learning environment so that all students have the opportunity to succeed. Since 1998, Adopt-A-Classroom has raised over $11 million on behalf of teachers! This can be a ongoing fundraising effort and any school in the US can participate. Schools in Seattle are listed here: