Phone-A-Thon raises $41,000 |

Phone-A-Thon raises $41,000

Parent volunteers for McPolin Elementary School make calls for the PCEF Phone-A-Thon. (Photo provided by the Park City Education Foundation)

Hordes of volunteers made call after call more than 130 in total all in support of the Park City Education Foundation. The annual Phone-A-Thon, an event where volunteers call Park City parents asking for donations for the nonprofit, raised more than $41,000 in a single week including several matching grants from local businesses. And that is not counting the continuing pledged donations coming in through their website.

From high school clubs to principals to parents, volunteers helped raise funds for PCEEF. The donations will reach students in every school in the school district through grant programs. Along with the Phone-A-Thon event, the nonprofit also raised $28,000 with Beat the Call, an additional annual event preceding the phone drive a last opportunity to give before the drive begins. For Beat the Call, Jeremy Ranch Elementary won a $2,000 Winder Farms challenge grant by raising over $5,000. More than 800 children won class parties sponsored by Papa Johns and Winder Farms. "There were so many pieces of this event," said Erik Falter, the Phone-A-Thon Chair & PCEF Board Member. "It felt exciting and different, a real success with the depth of volunteer involvement. Every night, the program requires a lot of volunteers, and they came out to help."

When students from the high school clubs participated, each student volunteering went through training on what to say and how PCEF works. Again and again, Falter heard students talk about this-or-that program that they were a part of.

"I would see these kids, hear them talk about how they were a part of all these programs. They did not realize that this nonprofit was a part of making that happen," Falter said. "They did not realize how far into the classroom PCEF goes, how far these programs go in each class or what that means.

"Taking those phone calls, they understood how PCEF really helps."

Every year, PCEF uses grant money to fund ideas coming straight from teachers, schools and the district. Jennifer Billow, the PCEF communications manager, said that more than 95 percent of students in the district are impacted every year using the grant funding. From the riskier ideas testing new programs at the classroom level to district-wide initiatives, the funds have supported everything from classroom technology to dual immersion.

"Everything you donate stays in Park City," Billow said. "It comes back to the kids. People are realizing to have that quality, Park City education, it is going to take more than our taxes. People want to step up, to have those extras and a great education no matter what."

The Park City High School had students from the Debate Club, Interact Club, Future Business Leaders of America, Orchestra, Cheerleading Team, National Honor Society and Latinos in Action participating with the event, raising roughly $8,000 in credit card and pledge donations. Each group was able to keep 10 percent of what they raised to go directly to future club activities.

On the night where parent volunteers were asking for donations for McPolin and Trailside Elementary schools, one volunteer received a $5,000 donation.

"The whole room went crazy," Billow said. "It was very unexpected."

Two challenge grants were met during the event, including $2,500 from The UPS Stores Park City. "This is where we hit all the parents in the district," she added, "and it is very humbling. It shows they feel this is important. Our parents are wonderful, and they believe in the mission of advancing student achievement for all students."

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