It isn't every school student who sees a lack of funding as an opportunity, but that's exactly what happened with teacher Cassie Brewer's eight Beyond the Books students.
The Native American students from Stevens High School in Rapid City were discussing how the Indian Education Office's Title VII pre-prom event had less money this year and would result in fewer teens getting dresses. One student suggested donating her sister's old dress, and the idea to create a prom-dress drive took shape.
Students have already collected more than 50 dresses but haven't quite reached their goal of gathering 100 frocks by April 12.
"It's really incredible the things these kids do," said Brewer, who is in her first year as a Beyond the Books internship coordinator.
Dress donations will be accepted at the Stevens High School office from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Monetary donations for alterations are also being accepted.
Beyond the Books is a program that uses service learning projects to help out in the community. For questions or to nominate someone for a dress donation, email Brewer at Cassie.Brewer@k12.sd.us.
Rally lemonade stand raises funds
Seven months after raising $289 with a lemonade stand during the Sturgis rally, 12-year-old Jessica Benson spent the money on Easter baskets for 10 hospital patients in Rapid City.
Jessica had a seizure disorder when she was younger and spent time at the Children's Hospital of Denver, so she knows what it's like to spend time in the hospital.
"Jessica loves to help out her community, and seeing the sick kids in the hospital made her want to try and do something to brighten their day," her mother, Jennifer Benson, said.
Jessica, a former Little Miss Rapid City and Little Miss Sturgis, partnered with the Children's Miracle Network, the main platform of the Miss South Dakota programs, to make and deliver the baskets.
Jessica, who lives on a route well traveled during the rally, recruited her brothers Tucker, 7, and Riley, 9, to work at the two-day lemonade stand this summer. Her sister Holly, 5, then helped her buy items for the basket.
This is the third year Jessica has raised money during the rally for Easter baskets.
"I think it really makes a difference and I hope the kids enjoy the projects," Jessica said.
Jessica has a personal platform called "Take the Challenge, Lead by Example," a program emphasizing that just one person can initiate change.
"It's about people, that they can always make a difference and there is always something they can do," Jessica said.
Visit her Facebook page at facebook.com/TakeTheChallengeLeadByExample
Co-workers raise funds for a cancer patient
When Douglas Dupree Jr., 34, a five-year employee with MainLine Contracting, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, his company helped out with a fundraiser.
The benefit, held at the Eagles Club Fraternal Order 3555, brought together co-workers to raise funds with a live band, a poker tournament and a silent auction.
Friends and family from Dupree, a small town in Ziebach County, as well as friends and co-workers from Rapid City came to town for the event which raised $9,200 for his expenses.
"The support and number of people that showed up was amazing. I can't even began to express the feeling because the feeling is indescribable, knowing that there are lot of good people in South Dakota," said Dupree's wife, Josie Jiron.
Of note from readers
I was at McDonald's in Walmart getting my 3-year-old daughter a snack. An elderly man behind us was counting his change to see if he had enough to get a chicken sandwich. I couldn't imagine being in a situation like that. I ordered him that plus a meal. He was so happy and thankful. I like to do random nice things. I have seen the positive effects it has on others and how compassionate my daughter has become.
— Kristie Wheeler
I went grocery shopping tonight. The lady behind me in line tapped me on the shoulder and said "Excuse me. Is that your husband on that pin on your jacket?" I said yes. She asked, "Is he deployed?" I said yes. She got teary, said, "Thank you to you and your family for your sacrifice!" and then handed me $20. I tried several times to give it back but she made me keep it. Nice lady at the commissary, you have no idea what kind of a day I had today. You made my day a lot brighter and made me smile. I plan to take the kids for ice cream when it gets nice outside.
— Jody Stock