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A Mile for a Smile: WAS Students Raise Funds for Cleft-Lip/Palate Charity
With sneakers laced and sunblock lathered-on, students at Western Avenue School participated in the 20 annual Western Walks event on a sunny May afternoon. In concert with our District’s vision for developing self-directed learners and collaborative & productive citizens, the event was organized by the school’s fifth-graders and sponsored by the school’s PTO.

This is just one of many community service projects Geneva 304 students participate in throughout the year. This year’s beneficiary was Evelyn’s Baskets of Love and Life, which was founded by the family of AE teacher Mrs. Heidi Gibbons, and provides items necessary for the care of babies in Guatemala born with cleft lip or cleft palate. The organization gives hope and encouragement to parents and caregivers, and the school’s goal was to raise money to help support the need to provide specialty bottles and formula, corrective lip/palate surgeries, home water for purification systems, and clean-burning stoves. 

In all, 239 students (69% of the school's total students!) signed up to participate in the rigorous 1-mile walk, which included a route through the neighboring Allendale subdivision. Additionally, 100 parents and 20 staff volunteered for the event. 

Students huffed and puffed to get through the last uphill dash to the finish line, and were rewarded with ceremonial cheers, bubbles, refreshments and the knowledge that they helped contribute to healthier smiles for fellow children thousands of miles away.