Southside Learning Center student Tyler Guilmett, front, shows off a white paper chain draped over his shoulders. Students and staff can purchase each link of the chain for 10 cents as part of a school fundraiser. Students, from left, are Arthur Conner, Joey Nolan, Nathaniel Shirk and Christopher Colotti.

Archived Story

‘Chain Gang’ links up to fund travel

Published 10:10pm Thursday, March 1, 2012

It didn’t take long for Southside Learning Center’s chain-link fundraiser to take off.
Students and staff purchased each link to a paper chain for 10 cents. Four days into the fundraiser, three chains had reached the end of the school’s main hallway, which is about 250 feet long.
“The entire building is involved and I think that just makes it so much more fun,” Southside teacher Marty Oleson said. “They are just having the best time and the relationships are growing. It has just been a gas of a week.”
The fundraiser is also a competition. Students on the west side of the building purchase blue chains, while the east side students purchase red chains and the staff white chains.
The winner of the contest, which ends today, gets a yet-to-be determined prize.
Blue had the most links on Wednesday as the chain had already reached the end of the hallway and began coming back the other way.
“That is the first thing the kids talk about when they get on the bus in the morning and the last thing they are talking about when they get off,” said Southside outreach worker Robin Fergison.
Funds will likely go toward a field trip for the students, Oleson said.
“We might go skating or bowling to get the kids outside the building and socializing with each other,” she said. “We are big on that because it produces and promotes independence with our population and positive behavior.”
The chain-link fundraiser coincides with school spirit week. Each day of the week has a theme. Monday was college jersey/hat day; Tuesday, camouflage day; Wednesday, black out day; Thursday, mix-and-match day; and today is blue and gold day.
Outreach worker Kelly Barton came up with the idea for the chain link fundraiser. The school plans to do the fundraiser once a year due to its success.
Southside Learning Center is part of the Niles Community Schools district. It operates two center-based programs for low incidence special needs students and students whose behavioral issues interfere with their ability to learn.

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