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Penny Wars!!!

October 18, 2011

Penny Wars kicks off Greek Weekend 2011

So, this weekend is Greek Weekend here at good old JHU. From Thursday through Sunday, various Greek Life groups are holding events meant to be fun for all students and raise money for various charities and programs. There is the “Mr. Phi Mu” talent contest (in which yours truly will be a “celebrity” judge for the second year), Alpha Phi’s Casino Night for you to get your Vegas on, Breastival (need I say more?), a yummy Cook Off, Trivia Night and of course, the event everyone waits for – Powder Puff Football (there are YouTube videos out there that will make you cringe!!).

There is one more event; one that kicks off Greek Weekend this year and one that has become very dear to my heart – Penny Wars. A little over three years ago, I heard about a volunteer opportunity in our neighborhood that afforded me the chance to make a difference in someone’s life on a weekly basis while still maintaining my increasingly busy ShushLady schedule. One day a week, for the past three years, I have participated in the “Story Pals” program at the Barclay Elementary school at 29th and Barclay St. “Story Pals” takes local volunteers and, after an official background check and some basic training, assigns them to an elementary school student whose teacher has identified as having some sort of difficulty with their reading skills. Volunteers spend time reading to or listening to their Story Pal read to them and then discuss the book(s) with their Story Pal. I was fortunate enough to have the same student during his kindergarten and first grade years and the difference in his reading and comprehension was amazing and heart warming.

So, what does Greek Weekend’s Penny Wars have to do with “Story Pals”?? Last year, the Greek Weekend committee decided to donate the proceeds from Penny Wars to the “Story Pals” program at Barclay. The program has never really had its own budget and got by with donated resources. Traditionally, Penny Wars had raised about $800, but last year we were able to give the “Story Pal” program at Barclay its first official budget of $2,562.24!!! That money has gone to better volunteer training and the purchase of some much needed supplies.

On Thursday, October 20th, numerous Greek organizations have from 11am to 2pm to collect as much change as they can in their decorated jars on the Krieger/Ames breezeway. Of course, there is a twist. You see, Greek Weekend is also a competition between all the Greek organizations and Penny Wars is no different. All of the change (pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters) collected in a jar count for that group’s total, but every paper bill put in a jar counts against that group’s total. Sneaky, right?? Evil plans are hatched, Greek Brothers and Sisters stand at the ready to put 1’s, 5’s, 10’s, and even wads of 20’s in their competition’s jars! The Greek organization with the most positive (or least negative) total after all the money is counted, wins points towards their Greek Weekend total. The real winners, or course, are the students at the Barclay Elementary school and the “Story Pals” program.

So please, gather your loose change this Thursday and stop by the Krieger/Ames breezeway from 11am to 2pm to show your love for a particular Greek organization (or bring bills and “get back” at a group) and help support a great, local program that is dear to my heart!

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