Big Give


Group 4 students are doing a social service project called the Big Give. Each student is given $40 to use to make a difference. The goal of this project is to not just donate the money they are given, but to make the money grow, collect items to donate, and to raise awareness about an issue.

Unfortunately, many of the avenues that involve the school community helping Group 4 students to make a difference can’t be done this year. The kids usually run events, raffles, organize collections, etc. Although we are all disappointed to miss out on these community and growth events, the students are trying to make the best of it by writing letters to companies asking for donations or support, and by setting up Go Fund Me Pages for their causes.

Many of these organizations could use extra help right now. If you are inclined, please donate or share this information with family or friends who might be interested in helping out. To find out more about each cause, click the title! Thank you!

Care Packages for Military Personnel

Organizer: Leah

Since I applied and got into Delaware Military Academy, I’ve become interested in Navy and military history and the lives of those who serve. There are 210,000 United States military personnel who are deployed. They are away from their family and friends while they are serving our country. For my Big Give project, I decided to make care packages for soldiers overseas, because I care.

Not only is this project helping veterans, it's giving me the experience of making a difference through community service and to grow as a person.

I am raising money to buy the following items for care packages: beef jerky, socks, travel sized toiletries, sunscreen, hand warmers, hand sanitizer, lip balm, foot powder, decks of cards, pencils and gum.

Not only would it mean a lot to me, it would mean even more to those who are serving our country.

Swim Toward a Future

Organizers: Rachel and Juliet

We are Rachel and Juliet. Our school NCCL is doing a project called Big Give which is where each kid gets a budget and has to make a difference in the world or their community. 3,536 people die from drowning per year. That is terrible! If we can lower that number it would make us so happy.

My friend, Rachel and I are both passionate about swimming because we have both been in water since we were young. One of my favorite things to do is swim. There is one week in the summer when my family goes and spends it together at the beach. This tradition is fun because I get to see family but what makes it amazing is the sea is there with us. Some of my best friends had disabilities but they don’t deserve any less help or respect.

My name is Rachel and I am on the FFC swim team in Newark, DE and during the summer I'm practically in the water 24-7. It's like my happy place, and it makes me feel horrible that kids around the world don’t know how to swim.

We look forward to helping people who might not be able to swim. We are working with Kids First Swim School, which is a business that teaches kids how to swim.

We are raising money so that they can give scholarships to four foster kids who can’t afford lessons. By donating you might help save a life or more. You might also be able to cheer up a child’s day. Please help us save kids.

Reduce, Reuse, Inform

Organizers: Oti and Rosy

We are both very passionate about the environment. We deeply want to make a difference with the plastic pollution in America and would really like for people to stop using plastic products and other waste.

A plastic detergent bottle can stay in landfills for up to 1,000 years, so the more that we make, the more of a problem there is. Did you know that around 91% of plastic does not actually get recycled? We are deeply upset by this and really want to make a difference.

Oti is always distressed to see plastic and litter on the side of the road; she and Rosy are always trying their best to pick up litter wherever they go.

We want to inform adults and kids about the problem with plastic consumption. We are sending letters to businesses and politicians to ban the use of certain plastics. We are also starting Reuse, Reduce and Inform workshop videos for kids to turn plastic into new items. We wish to inform people of plastic and its dangers to our health and the environment.

We are donating any money that we raise to the Environmental Defense Fund, because they are using science and technology to save the environment in a healthy way.

More information about Environmental Defense Fund: “Guided by science and economics, we tackle urgent threats with practical solutions. Clean air and water. Abundant fish and wildlife. A stable climate. Our work protects nature and helps people thrive. What sets us apart is how we make this happen: By creating solutions that also carry economic benefits.” Thanks for helping us make a difference!

AI duPont Children's Hospital Research and Comfort

Organizers: Collin, Sabine, and David

For our Big Give project, we chose to assist the Child Life Department at AI duPont Hospital. More specifically, we chose to help the bed-ridden children in this department. We each feel extreme empathy for the children who spend extended time in hospital beds.

Over 3 million kids in the United States have to deal with extended hospitalizations every year; some for multiple months or even years! We passionately care about these children and really want to help.

Children who experience long hospitalizations have complex illnesses with a high chance of displacement from their families. Imagine you are five years old. All of a sudden, you become severely sick. As other kids run around, you are laying in a hospital bed with nothing to do. The more they play the more you think about leaving to see your family that you might never see again.

David: When I was younger I came down with a bad sickness. It got so bad to the point where I needed to go to the hospital. I stayed overnight and there was nothing to do besides lay in your hospital bed. It felt like forever until I was finally released from the hospital and returned to my normal life. Now I always feel empathy for kids that have to deal with this long term.

Sabine: I have always had a soft spot for little kids. When I found out that some kids have to stay in bed with nothing to do, I was heartbroken. This is why I feel as though I need to help them and give them whatever they need. Knowing that I could help them even the slightest bit brings me so much joy.

Collin: I am fortunate that I have never been hospitalized but I have been to the hospital and seen the children's faces. They look so sad, so bored, just waiting to be released and enjoy life. When I get sick and have to stay in my bed I am so incredibly bored I can’t imagine what that's like for children who have to stay in a hospital for months. I want to help these kids have something fun to do during one of the most stressful and scary times of their lives.

The money we raise will be used for childhood cancer research and to purchase comfort items.

One Tree Planted

Organizers: Carlos & Victor

Ever since we were little kids, we cared about our impact on the environment. Recently finding out that Australia's forests were being burned down, we decided that we would use the Big Give Project to help save the Australian habitats and the animals that flourish and thrive in them. About 1 billion animals are now estimated dead because of Australia's fires; roughly 25.5 million acres have been burned. That's why we decided to work with an organization called One Tree Planted. They make it easy to help different places around the world by planting trees effectively and efficiently for only one dollar a plant.

“As an environmental charity, we are dedicated to making it easier for individuals and businesses to give back to the environment, create a healthier climate, protect biodiversity and help reforestation efforts around the world. All by planting trees!

Started in 2014, we have more than doubled the number of trees planted year over year. Fast-forward to today, we now work with awesome reforestations partners in North America, South America, Asia, and Africa who help us get trees in the ground to restore forests after fires and floods, create jobs, build communities, and protect habitat for biodiversity.

In 2018, we were able to get more trees in the ground than ever before - 1.3 million!” states One Tree Planted.

We appreciate your consideration and so will the saved koalas, kangaroos, and camels.

Save the Pups

Organizer: Danny

I decided to choose Paws for Life for my project. The organization is run by Ginny Suarez. "I want everyone to know that we still are a small operation. I go by the S.P.C.A.'s regularly, so I know which dogs would make great pets. If one of these wonderful dogs is scheduled for euthanasia, Paws for Life steps in. We bring the dogs into our program, get their shots and neutering up to date, and care for these dogs until we can find good homes for them."

I decided to choose Paws For Life for my project because I adopted my dog Tilda from them.

If it wasn’t for Paws for Life, my dog who is an important part of my life, might not have made it because she has a hurt front leg. It makes me feel so bad to think about what could have happened to MY dog, and what HAS happened to the 2.7 million dogs who die in shelters every year.

Some of the money I raise will go straight to the organization, while the rest will be used to purchase needed items for PawsForLife. Thank you for helping me make a difference!

The Fight Against Inhumane Treatment Of Animals

Organizer: Daniel

I’m a seventh grade boy named Daniel trying to do the best I can for the world with only forty dollars. I have had a love for dogs for years ever since I got my own, when I realized that dogs, every day are abused in puppy mills I knew that I should push against this injustice in this world.

Right now there are over ten thousand puppy mills in the US and over two million puppies are bred with each female having over 9.4 puppies a year with over 90 percent of dogs coming from puppy mills and 1.2 million dogs are euthanized every year. This is why I have chosen the Brandywine SPCA that uses humane ways of euthanizing dogs and cats and in 2018 the Brandywine SPCA saved 13,406 dogs, and most of them were lost strays looking for a home.

Shoot Basketballs Not People

Organizers: Leavitt, Yuuki, Josh

For our Big Give project, we have decided to help Shoot Basketballs Not People (SBNP). SBNP provides an outlet for kids struggling through a violent environment by providing them with an opportunity to play sports. SBNP works to reduce violence and prevent youth from turning into tomorrow’s criminals. We are grateful for the fact that we have had the opportunity to compete in athletics in a safe environment. Unfortunately not everyone has that opportunity. In 2019 alone, there were 1,435 shootings and 351 of them were homicides.

Leavitt: Ever since I was young, I have been involved in sports. I play basketball and I used to play football. Being involved in sports has been one of the most important things that have helped me in my life. I believe that everyone, no matter who they are, should have a chance to play. Whenever I’m feeling down or stressed I just pick up a ball and shoot around. Something just as simple as that can calm me down.

Joshua: Both of my parents grew up in north Philly. My dad always tells me stories about how he grew up, and I always asked him where his friends are now. He would say most of his friends that he had growing up are dead. When I asked him what happened to them, he would respond, “Most of them were shot.” As a little kid I couldn’t believe it when he said it was normal for people to be shot every day in his neighborhood. I don’t want kids to grow up with the same “normal” that other kids had to fight through.

Yuuki: I have been actively participating in sports since I was very young. It has been an immensely important part of my life growing up. I believe that no matter your background, everyone deserves access to a high level of sports. SBNP provides kids with that opportunity, but is also bigger than just sports. Shoot Basketballs Not People are fighting inequity on a day to day basis.

People are helped by Shoot Basketballs Not People every day. We are extremely enthusiastic to help this extraordinary organization. These inner city kids desperately need an outlet, and basketball provides the perfect opportunity. All of the gun violence inside Philadelphia is destroying kids' lives and they need to be able to find a way to survive without it.

We are gathering basketballs and raising as much money as possible for Shoot Basketballs Not People. We are writing to ask if you would be willing to donate basketballs for our cause.

Greyhound Pet Adoptions of Delaware

Organizers: KaiLi and Rylee

Kaili: There is a species of dogs called greyhounds who are known to be gentle, intelligent, athletic, affectionate, quiet, even tempered, and can move at the speed of forty five miles per hour. There are greyhounds who race in the tracks who end up getting retired and sent to a place to be adopted. One of these places is called Greyhound Pet Adoptions of Delaware which is where me and Rylee want help by raising money to help retired greyhounds get adopted.

My reasons for wanting to help retired greyhounds get adopted is because of my friend named Rylee I'm working with who has a retired greyhound called Westley who had adopted him from there. Westley is a nice, quiet, and kind dog and from what I heard about greyhounds they are great to live with. I also want to help since I love animals and my family has a beagle who was also rescued.

Rylee: A couple years ago, my family adopted an amazing dog named Westley from an organization called GPAD. He's an incredibly sweet, friendly, and overall wonderful dog. Thousands of retired racing Greyhounds just like him go without homes. Me and Kaili want to help these dogs find forever homes.

For our Big Give project, we hope to help retired racers find homes. We’ll help by gathering money from fundraisers, and help provide whatever materials GPAD, (Greyhound Pet Adoptions of Delaware, where I got my dog) needs.

Ronald McDonald House of Delaware

Organizer: Grace

The organization that I am working with is called The Ronald McDonald House of Delaware. (RMHC) “The Ronald McDonald House of Delaware provides a safe, affordable “home-away-from-home” to families of seriously or chronically ill or injured children who are being treated at area hospitals and operates 3 Ronald McDonald Family Rooms within pediatric units of hospitals across Delaware.” About 50 families are able to stay there and each family can stay there for several weeks, or even months.

The reason I chose RMHC was because my step father has prostate cancer, and he has changed his eating habits and more to make sure that he is doing everything he can do to fight it. It made me think about kids who are going through this traumatic experience. I want to donate snacks, toys, and other needed materials that RMHC would appreciate. Teens in particular struggle being away from home and their friends, so RMHC is looking for items that will be comforting for them.

The money that I raise will be used to buy items for RMHC. Thank you for helping me to make a difference.

For more information, see Ronald McDonald House of Delaware’s website:

Serving the People Who Served Us

Organizer: Hayden

I will be donating all of the profits and items to The Brian Conely’s Veterans Resiliency Center. Donating to a veteran’s shelter is very important to me because I have family members who have served before. My grandfather was a 1st Lt when he finished. He trained in the tank division.

To see veterans come home and be homeless and not be respected is terrible. I know that if you donated it would make a lot of people happy, maybe including yourself. So please donate here at my GoFundMe page.

More information about Warriors Helping Warriors (The Brian Conley Veterans' Resiliency Center): Warriors Helping Warriors Inc. was formed on the premise of helping fellow veterans and their families navigate the Veterans Administration (VA) and Military Systems, and reintegrate into society after returning home. Thanks for helping me to make a difference!

Some of the organizations supported by NCCL's Big Give:

  • Cancer patients at Nemours Alfred I duPont Hospital for Children
  • Autism Delaware
  • Delaware Theater Company for a scholarship fund for their Totally Awesome Players: Theatre Program for Young People with Intellectual Disabilities.
  • CompAnimals
  • Sketchbooks and art supplies for children at Nemours Alfred I duPont Hospital for Children.
  • Cab Calloway School for the Arts Scholarship Fund
  • Reforesting Folk Park in Newark, DE
  • Faithful Friends
  • Kids' Runway for Research
  • Connections Community Support Programs, Inc. to help homeless individuals
  • Tri-State Bird Rescue
  • Children and Families First
  • Water Resources Association of the Delaware River (WRADR)
  • White Clay Creek State Park.
  • Delaware Humane Association
  • Comfort Bags for Children Undergoing Chemotherapy
  • Delaware Center for Homeless Veterans
  • Meals on Wheels
  • Kind to Kids​

NCCL's 'Big Give' raises money for local, national organizations

By Karie Simmons, Newark Post

May 4, 2016

Wildlife rehabilitator Hillary Taylor has been helping sick, abandoned and injured animals get back on their feet for more than 40 years out of her home in Bear without any state or federal funding.
She relies entirely on volunteers, donations and some of her own money to keep her rehab center going, but now, thanks to an eighth-grader at Newark Center for Creative Learning who raised roughly $1,000 in cash and supplies for Taylor, she can afford to continue her work.
Brynna Bartoo, 13, of Newark, fundraised for Taylor as part of a class project called “The Big Give” and on Monday, she dropped off everything she collected over the past few months.
Taylor was in tears.
“I’m so impressed with her,” she said as she hugged Brynna. “You have no idea what this means to me.”
The class project was spearheaded by language arts and social studies teacher Kate Kerrane, who said students at the school on Phillips Avenue have been doing the project for the past eight years. The idea was inspired by Oprah Winfrey’s reality TV show “The Big Give,” which aired on ABC in 2008 and pitted contestants against each other to see who could use allotted funds to make the biggest difference in the lives of others.
Kerrane said several parents suggested the school create a class project based on the show and donated the original seed money to get it started. Since then, the program has been funded by grants and donations as well as Wednesday pizza sales at the school.
This year, 15 of her 7th and 8th grade students were each given $50 to make a difference in the community, but she didn’t just want them to give the money away. Instead, they had to make the money grow by collecting additional donations, raising awareness and volunteering.
Students chose their topics by deciding what they cared about or identifying a need in their community that wasn’t being met. Then they researched the issue, identified related organizations and nonprofits and created a mission statement.
“They needed to make a plan about why they wanted to make a difference,” Kerrane said.
Each student raised money and supplies for their cause in different ways. While some students found success with placing bins in the school hallways and hosting fundraising events, others received donations by writing letters and making phone calls.
Eighth-grader Jasmine Middaugh and classmate Pilar Hervas raised over $1,000 for a Florida-based nonprofit called To Write Love on Her Arms, which works with people struggling with addiction, depression, self-injury and thoughts of suicide and invests in treatment and recovery programs. The students collected money for the cause by organizing a “Penny Wars” fundraising challenge that split the school into four teams to see who could donate the most pennies, as well as from a GoFundMe page.
Jasmine, 14, said she came across To Write Love on Her Arms while browsing on the internet and it spoke to her. She said mental illness plays an important role in many of today’s issues but, it is lacking awareness and resources.
“It’s such a big problem that we feel needs to be talked about more,” she said.
Now that their project is complete, Jasmine said she feels like she has made a difference.
“I really like that Kate does this because it gives us the opportunity to help with something I never thought I would help with,” she said, using her teacher’s first name, as is custom at NCCL.
For 13-year-old Nicole McGhee, of Wilmington, The Big Give project was personal.
She chose to focus her efforts on raising money for pediatric palliative care at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington because of a close friend with cancer who was staying in hospice care. He died before she could finish her project.
Nevertheless, Nicole pushed on. Her goal was to raise enough money to buy two books – “The Next Place” by Warren Hanson and “The Invisible String” by Patrice Karst – that help families deal with death. She wanted to get 33 copies of each book, as well as heating pads, notebooks, and pens for kids to use while in the hospital.
She placed a donation bin inside NCCL and wrote letters to Barnes and Noble – which donated two books – as well as the books’ publishing companies, which offered buy-one-get-one-free deals and also donated some books. She said Walgreens and Poppin gave her pens and notebooks.
She also raised money from a GoFundMe page as well as through her church and a family game night at the school she hosted with her classmates. She said she plans to use some of the money she collected to put a bookplate inside every book to honor her friend.
Kerrane said the students were held to a loose deadline, but she decided to allow Nicole to keep working on her project after seeing how much success she was having.
“I’m not going to stop her,” she said. “Who wants to stop that kind of enthusiasm? I don’t want to get in the way.”
Like her classmate Nicole, Bethany Duff, 13, of Newark, also chose to focus her efforts on helping other children. She and partner Sybil Roosen raised money for the Wilmington-based Kind to Kids Foundation’s “My Blue Duffel” campaign, which provides foster kids with a duffel bag containing a blanket, toothbrush, book and stuffed animal when they transition or are removed from their home due to abuse or neglect.
“Just the idea to switch houses and switch families often, we were thinking that it would be hard not to have a stable life,” Bethany said.
“Animals are nice and homeless veterans need help, but helping peers, basically, feels different,” she added. “They’re kids like me.”
Bethany raised enough money for 200 duffel bags and she said The Big Give taught her how much she can accomplish when she is persistent.
“It’s amazing how people just want to help,” she said. “You can make a difference if you just ask.”
For Brynna, it was the cuteness factor that made her want to help Taylor.
“I saw the website and that was kind of what sold me,” she said. “Those baby squirrels are the cutest thing I’ve seen in a while.”
In addition to the donation bin, Brynna wrote letters to Tractor Supply Company, set up a GoFundMe and chipped in $100 from her own allowance. In the end, she gave Taylor a check for $895, as well as $115 in supplies for the animals. Taylor will use the money to buy buckets of formula for baby animals, hand warmers to keep babies warm and veterinarian supplies.
Although her students’ projects are coming to an end, Kerrane said it’s just the beginning of a life-long pursuit of making a difference.
“The most important thing is that they carry this on with them,” she said.Brynna said she certainly will.
“I really like to see the animals that will get the food and the babies that will get the formula. I feel proud that I’m helping these little animals,” she said on Monday as she held one of Taylor’s box turtles. “I’ll probably remember this for the rest of my life.”