Loose change. We all have it lying around, under-seat cushions, in a junk drawer, or maybe even in the ashtray in our car, but most people have no idea how much that adds up to. Take a guess, perhaps a thousand dollars? A million? Ten million? Most people do not know that this spare change totals more than ten billion dollars worldwide, and this is just one of the fascinating things I learned from World of Change.

The summer before my seventh-grade year, I had the opportunity to become a Hill School ambassador for World of Change. This non-profit organization aspires to collect as much of the 10 billion dollars of spare change as possible. I was invited to attend a presentation at a Montessori school with Hill School’s Kelly Johnson and another student. So, after a car ride and a trip to Chick-fil-A, I was introduced to a fascinating idea.

I had always enjoyed helping others, whether that meant selling rainbow loom at a neighborhood gathering or having lemonade stands as soon as it was warm enough to ditch my jacket, but I always struggled with convincing people to contribute to a cause, especially after I no longer appeared as a cute child. But I became fascinated by making a real difference with something as insignificant as spare change, showing people that giving can be as easy as collecting a few dimes and quarters.

With the Hill School student council’s help and the support of Hill’s faculty, we launched our collection in November of 2018. Volunteers stayed after school to stuff coin pouches with the incentive of free pizza. The student council decided on our six charities; Backpack Buddies, All Ages Read Together, The Truth 365, KaBoom, Operation Hope, and Comfort Cases. After explaining to the school what our goal was and how they could help, we set them free with coin pouches and motivation. We placed six jars, one for each charity, in every classroom for over a month, and watched the change accumulate.

A few weeks later, I was blown away by how much the students had collected. In the fourth grade, at least two of their jars had to be emptied already because they had been filled, and each grade was bringing a steady stream of change. When the collection came to a close, we totaled the change to $1,749.96 with a few generous faculty donations.

But my favorite part of it all came when we invited representatives from each charity to an all-school assembly. As we announced the total, the reaction was amazing; nearly everyone in the room looked awed at how a small school of 222 JK-8th graders could collect over $1,740 through spare change.

Now, amid a global pandemic, we are launching our second change drive. Initially, we planned to pick up the project after spring break ended in late March, but when Covid-19 struck, it was apparent that it would not be happening.

However, we were still determined to do something. In virtual meetings with other youth ambassadors from across the country, I became inspired to figure out a way to execute a new and improved plan to collect change. With the aid of Mrs. Johnson and Mr. Matt Hoidal, the founder of World of Change, Hill School has now launched an initiative to collect change for six organizations safely: Doctors Without Borders, Feeding America, Backpack Buddies, Winchester Rescue Mission, Great Harvest Warrington and SOME (So Others Might Eat) who are all doing important work in this time of crisis. To contribute, please send a check to The Hill School P.O. Box 65 or call the front desk a few minutes before dropping off at Hill School, whatever spare change you can collect. Hill School will be collecting spare change through June 16th.

Please, take five minutes out of your day to scavenge for whatever coins you can find and become a part of this world of change.