DALLAS - Dallas ISD schools are raising thousands of dollars for more than 44 different causes.
The program is called Common Cents and encourages students to get an early start on philanthropy, fundraising and giving back.
It started in 1998 with just three participating schools. Since then, they've collectively raised more than $900,000 for various non-profits like St. Jude Children's Hospital and Genesis Women's Shelter.
The program is now at 37 schools and in just one month they've collected almost $51,000 for 44 different non-profits.
On Tuesday, students of all ages held up big checks loud and proud to celebrate giving back.
“We believe in the power of a celebration and just true birthday joy,” Candace Trevino, party manager, Birthday Party Project.
The non-profit hosts birthday parties for children experiencing homelessness.
“It's really moving that these students get to influence those who might not get a birthday and they just get to help them be kids,” said Lauren Neat, party manager, Birthday Party Project.
For Kameka Rains, the organization her son’s school picked has special meaning to their family. Kiran Rains, 6, was diagnosed with hemophilia at birth. His classmates at Julius Dorsey Elementary collected more than $700 for the Texas Center for Hemophilia in his honor.
“They all look after him at the school, the counselors, the teachers, the principals and all the students so it makes us feel like that's our family at the school,” Kameka said.
She hopes the money will have global reach.
“Not only is it gonna help him, it's gonna help all children because there's lots of chidren around the world that don't have access to the medicine to help treat this especially in other countries,” Kameka said.
Marysol Ortega and her classmates at Thomas Jefferson High School raised money for the outlast youth organization, which helps the homeless LGBTQ community. They were inspired by the outpouring of community support they saw when a tornado destroyed their school in October.
“After what happened to us I think it was crucial we needed to give back to our community, we experienced a lot of help from other people, a lot of organizations coming together to help us and what we were experiencing, it just felt right to do that,” Ortega said.
The goal next year is to collectively hit the $1 million mark in all-time donations.