Since 1985, the annual Fairmont/Centerville football game has meant more than just a football game – it has meant Spirit Chain, too. Through the collaborative efforts of both Fairmont and Centerville high schools, about $1.4 million has been given to charity.
Of course, much like the football game, a rivalry also envelopes Spirit Chain – a rivalry to see which student body can raise the most money. This fall, Fairmont students once again blew away Centerville in the Spirit Chain competition, raising $68,000 to Centerville’s $42,000. This was the fifth straight Spirit Chain victory for Fairmont. The money Fairmont raised this year will be donated to We Care Arts, the Kettering Backpack Program and Goodwill\Easter Seals’ Daybreak program.
We Care Arts is a non-profit organization that helps mentally, emotionally and physically disabled adults and children express themselves through art. According to the We Care Arts website, the organization’s mission is to “change disabilities into possibilities through art.” The Kettering-based organization plans to use the money Fairmont raised to buy many supplies to enhance the center’s programs.
However, Terry Schalnat, executive director of We Care Arts, feels Fairmont’s donations do more than just buy supplies. “The money helps make our students know that the community is here for them,” said Schalnat. “It gives them a chance for self-expression.”
The Kettering Backpack Program is another charity that will be receiving Spirit Chain funds. It is an organization that provides food on the weekends for a portion of the 37 percent of Kettering schools’ students that are on free or reduced lunches. “The awesome gift from Spirit Chain will allow us to expand from 400 to 460 children fed,” said Jacque Fisher from The Backpack Program. “We appreciate all the dedication of the USB and community in helping make sure each child doesn’t go hungry.”
The third Spirit Chain charity is Goodwill/Easter Seals’ partnership with Daybreak shelter for homeless teenagers. At Daybreak, Goodwill\Easter Seals funds a program that strives to assist homeless teenagers to learn and interact alongside other community members by working with them to learn resume writing skills, interview pointers and working tips.
United Student Body President Monica Wagner, who worked with Activities Director Jenny Borchers to orchestrate the Spirit Chain fundraisers, was thrilled with the outcome of Spirit Chain. “I’m really proud of how Spirit Chain went this fall,” said Wagner. “I never realized how much effort Spirit Chain really was until this year, but I think it tells a lot about the community we live in that we were able to win this year for the fifth year in a row.”
At the end of the day, however, Wagner and the rest of the USB officers agree that Spirit Chain is something more than just a contest. It’s a way to help charities that are in need, and by doing so, help those in the community who are in need as well.
“The energy that Fairmont put into Spirit Chain will live on in so many ways for the young people we serve. Feel proud of what you have accomplished,” Schalnat said. “We’d love to have students come visit our studio some time so that you can see, first hand, the difference that you have made in so many young people’s lives.”