A simple donation of stained glass turned into a continuing lesson on charity at Creekside Middle School in Zeeland. 

Instructor Tamara Draper decided to use the donation to teach entrepreneurship to her art class by coordinating the 100 Tables Project to raise money for school families in need.  

“Together we decided to pick a family that was in need and buy Christmas presents for them,” Tamara says. “We made $600 and were able to give two families in our school a wonderful holiday season.  At the end of the year, I asked the Principal if I could attempt this on a big scale and he said go for it!”

Tamara’s two-table project evolved into the ‘100 Tables Project’ where students and staff are working together with a goal of refurbishing 100 end tables for auction. The entire community is getting involved with local businesses donating items for the tables and a goal of raising $10,000 to assist local families. 

Nearly $3,000 has been raised to date and the project has helped five families in a variety of ways. From helping to keep electricity on, saving a family from losing their car, and putting food on families’ tables, the students’ work is making an impact.

“The families that we’ve helped have been overwhelmed by the support,” Tamara says.

Tamara says the students are very supportive and excited to participate. She has had at least 400 volunteers at one point or another in the past year helping with the project, even through the summer. “The students take pride in their work. You can especially see it when a table sells and they know they were a part of making it. Then when they hear what it sold for, it excites them more,” Tamara says. “I am so proud of our students.”  

“It's great to know that when we finish the project the money we make is going towards people that need the financial boost,” says Alyssa Munson, an 8th-grade student at Creekside.

While working to meet their fundraising goal, the students are also learning the ins and outs of running a small business, creating business cards, spreadsheets, pamphlets, brochures, and even a website for the project-www.100tablesproject.weebly.com. 

“I think there was skepticism when I set a goal of 100 tables and $10,000, that people thought no way can middle school kids accomplish this and especially at the professional level that they have,” Tamara says. “But it's happening.” 

The project is halfway to its $10,000 goal. 

“The kids are learning about the importance of helping and giving to others – that there is a time in everyone's life where you could use a helping hand,” Tamara says.

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“The ranch has opened up such creativity for our teachers. We can start to think of different ideas for putting our curriculum into practice. Teachers kind of get to be kids again!” —Danielle Snoeyink, Rose Park Elementary School Teacher

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“Volunteering honors Martin Luther King Jr. because he said anybody can be great because anybody can serve. It show our part by serving the community.” —Evan, GHAPS student

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