Southport kids turning loose change into real change

Tue, 01/14/2020 - 6:30pm

When you look at a quarter, what do you see? That was one of the questions World of Change founder Matt Hoidal asked students when he visited Southport Central School on Monday, Jan.13.

Hoidal started the nonprofit three years ago. He said he had worked in nonprofits many years but wanted to start something that would engage kids, all kids, in fundraising and donating.

“There aren’t enough accessible low-barrier ways to engage kids. Kids love loose change and this is something all kids can join in. Even disadvantaged kids can pick up a penny and participate. What better way to show them they can make a difference and to activate their giving spirit. World of Change is all about kids – allowing them to make a change themselves. They have a great experience and they help other kids who really need help.”

The students and teachers listened with amazement as Hoidal told them that at any given time in the United States there is $10 billion of loose change just lying around, and $62 million of it is thrown away every year.

Hoidal then asked his audience: How many of you volunteer? How many superheroes do you know? Do you think you can change the world? Some of the students thought yes, they could change the world, but at least half were doubtful.

Hoidal told them all, emphatically, “Yes, you can, but you change it one person at a time. When you volunteer and help someone, you’re changing the world. When you help someone else, you’re a superhero.”

Then came that other question: “When you look at a quarter, what do you see?”

Hoidal sees a meal. “With just one quarter, a food pantry can provide someone with a meal.” Everyone in the schoolroom was hooked.

In the three years since Hoidal began his World of Change work, he has engaged 72 schools in nine states. In a two- to four-week period, each student raises an average of $9 in loose change. According to the World of Change website, all of the money, thanks to private donors, sponsors and foundations, goes “directly to programs with established partners who are doing life-changing work in the areas of housing, food security, education, animals and nature, health and wellness, and children’s play/discovery.”

This month, the school’s students and staff are joining the cause. Between now and February break, they will be collecting loose change and bringing it into school for World of Change. Dead River Company has offered $200 in matching funding. So, look for collection jars at businesses around the island and, if you see a penny, pick it up and drop it in!