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Students Donate $1,500 for Oishei Children's Hospital

Oishei Hospital rep with Smallwood students A box containing a brightly colored squishy stress ball and the chance to win a free homework pass proved a winning combination for a sold-out fundraiser at Smallwood Drive Elementary School for the second year in a row.


For $1.50, students could purchase a Squeezables Mystery Box. Every box contained a small sand-filled balloon stress ball with a happy face and pom-pom hat. Each box had a little poem inside with a personalized name for the squeezable. The enticement for students was that some of the boxes contained a teacher-approved no homework pass.


In two days, 1,216 squeezable mystery boxes were purchased during 15 minutes before school started. The sale was supposed to run for three days, but just like last year the boxes sold out early. The proceeds of $1,500 were donated to the John R. Oishei Children's Hospital in Buffalo, according to Pat DiGiacomo, enrichment teacher at Smallwood Drive Elementary.


Building off last year's successful Mysterious Harry Boxes, where $1,500 was raised for Roswell Park Cancer Institute, the fundraiser idea was once again brainstormed and refined by approximately 60 third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students in Mrs. DiGiacomo's enrichment classes. The community service project falls under the umbrella of the district's Tigers Care initiative and school's PAWS character education program. The theme this year was “PAWS”-itively helping Children.


Students filled the small balloons with sand, wrote a poem, chose 292 names for the squeezables, boxed them all, and advertised the sale through morning announcements, emails, flyers and posters.


Also building off last year, Mod Pac, a box company, generously donated 1,200 orange boxes with Smallwood’s new PAWS logo. The orange box lid read “PAWS”-itively Helping Children, The Enrichment Program’s Community Service Project.


When asked what their favorite part of the project was, the students' answers varied but they all agreed they were happy to donate their money by purchasing a squeezable and that all the hard work was worth their time and effort.

Pictured at top, an Oishei official visited Smallwood Drive to present a special plaque to the school for their fundraising efforts.

Students purchase squeezable boxes

mystery box