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Small Change is big money for Humane Society
GBMS "Change War" provides pennies for puppies
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“Happiness is a warm puppy,” Charles Schultz, creator of the comic strip Peanuts, said.
Thanks to the generosity of students at Great Bend Middle School, puppies at the Golden Belt Humane Society animal shelter will continue to be safe as they wait for new homes this winter.   As the people of Great Bend and surrounding communities prepare for Christmas, despite the tough circumstances of a fragile economy and its effects on ourselves and our neighbors, still the homeless animals of the area have been remembered.  While the help may only be spare change, it’s given with a happy heart, and it all adds up.
The GBMS Dream Team recently hosted their second annual Change War competition.  This year the students donated the proceeds to the Humane Society.  The school was divided seven ways:  three seventh-grade cores, three-eighth grade cores and the staff.  Each group gained positive points for their team by placing as many pennies as possible in their bucket.  Negative points could be given to other teams by placing silver change or dollar bills into their buckets.  At the conclusion of the project Core 8-2 came out on top and a total of $513 had been raised to be donated to the Humane Society.  
When Broberg learned how the funds were raised, she was a little worried, she admits.  She envisioned hours spent rolling coins.  Luckily,  Farmer’s Bank and Trust helped the students out with their project by counting the change daily, and a check was presented.
“Its amazing how these kids have turned a small, fun effort into something with impact,” Gail Broberg, GBHS director, said. “Considering the animal shelter is not self-supporting, anytime we receive donations like this, it’s a happy thing.”
“I am glad we chose the Humane Society this year,” said Andrew Curtright, one of the Dream Team leaders.  “It felt good helping them out since that is where my family got our dog.”
Children especially view pets as part of the family, she added.  “It’s incomprehensible to them that anyone would abandon, neglect or cast them off.”  
Their donation will go to help with regular expenses of the shelter, Broberg said.  
The GBMS Dream Team is a student leadership goroup, much like student council, said Amy Stein, the sponsor of the group.  Students apply to be part of the Dream Team in seventh grade, and if chosen, serve during eighth grade. They must be recommended by teachers, maintain good grades, good attendance and good behavior to be eligible.  They are responsible for planning spirit weeks, assemblies, , promoting school spirit in the building, conducting school fundraisers, and leading community service projects.
“Last year was our first year for doing a Change War and we donated the proceeds to Kans for Kids.  Their success prompted them to repeat it again this year for a different organization.
Cheyenne Black, another Dream Team leader, enjoyed taking part in the project.  “we get to try to make a change by having a change war,” she said.
The entire student body and the staff were invited to participate in the Change War.  The dream team is always receptive to new ideas and new organizations they can help, and feel that the projects allow GBMS students to help make a positive impact in our community, she said.

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