Two local Eastside sixth graders take giving to the next level

Two local Eastside sixth graders take giving to the next level

ROCK SPRINGS – Giving back to a community is usually something people hear from an older generation but two sixth-grade students from Eastside Elementary have taken that statement to a whole different level.

With Cowboys Against Cancer just around the corner and the holiday season creeping up, service and giving is on everyone’s mind. For Autumn Paulie and Sophia Valdez, sixth-grade students at Eastside Elementary, a longing to give back started a remarkable movement.

Last year, Autumn’s grandfather passed away from cancer which started her young mind thinking about helping others. For several years, Sophia has also thought about starting a fundraising group to help people.

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Sophia said watching television, she often would see people helping other people, usually in the time of tragedy. From that she started working on making a club that would raise funds to help people in need.

The two girls ideas soon became one and they approached Eastside Councilor Teresa Klatka and Principal Brent McMurtrey about their idea to help.

Klatka said she was so excited when Autumn and Sophia came to her and it was so great to see young students who wanted to help other people.

From the early meetings, the group decided to do a bake sale. As word spread about the girls and the bake sale, other students, faculty and the public came out to help with the bake sale. Sophia said she was “surprised” at how many people came out to help while Autumn said she was excited because she did not think they would get as much money as they did.

In the end, the girls raised approximately $470 dollars.

They group decided they wanted the money to stay locally and It was at this time Klatka said McMurtrey told them to contact Geannie Berg about using the money they had raised to raise even more for Cowboys Against Cancer. Eastside Paraprofessional Carolyn Cracknell came to the girls and made a basket which will be part of the silent auction at this year’s benefit.

“You are my little superheroes,” Berg told the girls, touched by the generosity of the young students.

The young club has came up with a name, Happy at Heart. Teresa said they are going to be meeting and are working to bring a greater awareness as well as working on specific causes to help. They have also been reaching out to other students to help the club to grow.

In the end, Autumn summed up the work best.

“I am excited to help,” she said. “I know a lot of people go through this and I don’t want people to have to go through it like my papa did.”

The group will donate the basket to CAC tomorrow morning.

Cowboys against Cancer is still looking for donations for both the live and silent auctions. Berg said the deadline is Friday for items to be put in the program but people and businesses can donate items up to the event. If you are interested in helping, contact Geannie Berg or  Margaret Parry. You can also visit the Cowboys Against Cancer Facebook and web pages for more information.