The Year of Goodness has begun.
Goshen Mayor Jeremy Stutsman kicked off his signature event for the year by donating $1,750 to the fifth-graders at Model Elementary School and the same amount to students at the Merit Learning Center.
“We are going to give it to people who need it more then us,” said Jimena Carmona, one of the fifth-graders who accepted the check Monday from the mayor.
That’s the goal of Stutsman’s program.
“We live in a very generous community,” Stutsman told the students.
He announced his initiative at the Founder’s Day event earlier this year and said the Year of Goodness would run from March through March 2018. The mayor has been receiving donations from community members to fund charitable work through students. No tax money is involved, according to the mayor.
As of Monday there had been $18,000 collected, according to Stutsman. He intends to give equal amounts to each of Goshen’s elementary schools, the Merit Learning Center, St. John the Evangelist Catholic School and Bethany Christian Schools.
He told the fifth-graders the program is designed to give money “to students in Goshen so they can do acts of kindness in Goshen.”
It will be up to the fifth-graders to decide how to spend the money.
“It can be anything from a nonprofit in our area, helping somebody to buy a backpack who needs it, or anything you guys come up with. So we are hoping you guys come up with some exciting ideas and I am excited to see what it is.”
School counselor Shelley Baines said the students at Model are already working on a community service project, and the donation will tie into that lesson.
After the presentation, Stutsman said he made no stipulations on how students can spend the money, but he did make a request to each principal.
“I did ask that principals create committees within the student body and reach out to kids who are not in leadership roles yet and who may not have an opportunity to spend money on someone else as a youth.”