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Kids Day rallies community to support hospital (VIDEO)

UPDATE, March 21: According to a spread in the March 20 edition of The Fresno Bee, the 24th annual Kids Day raised more than $440,000.

Before the sun rose, thousands of volunteers were out on corners selling special issues of The Fresno Bee for Kids Day, an annual event that benefits Children’s Hospital Central California, March 8.

For the 24th year of Kids Day, The Fresno Bee aimed to sell 345,000 special edition newspapers and match last year’s revenue of $435,000, according to Bee Opinions Editor Jim Boren. Donors paid the suggested $1 donation or more for a copy of the newspaper.

FC students took part in the event, selling at the intersections of Cedar and Alluvial and Maple and Alluvial. Student leadership, band and The Feather staff arrived as early as 3 a.m. to secure the corners and commence the fundraiser.

For student leadership member Robbie Hill, ’14, the experience was beneficial in that it allowed him to witness the generosity of residents interested in helping sick children.

“It’s really fun,” Hill said. “Some of these people give really generously. It’s just nice seeing how nice people can be to help kids in need. In fact, someone gave me $20 for one copy.”

Student leadership adviser Jane Gillespie appreciated the student participation and enthusiasm, she said.

“We had a great turn out this morning,” Gillespie said. “I was so proud of their [students’] enthusiasm and effort! We sold about 765 papers but raised $1,314. The corners of Alluvial and Cedar and Alluvial and Maple were filled with FCS students cheering and shouting ‘Kids Day!’ for about three solid hours.”

Freshman Hannah Avila said she valued the opportunity to represent FC, contribute to the community and enjoy fellowship with her peers.

“I think it’s important that FC participates with Kids Day because it shows that we care about our community,” Avila said. “By doing this, we are able to let our light shine. I enjoyed yelling at cars and spending time with my friends while doing good for the community.”

Shaw/Blackstone draws dignitaries

A large crowd gathered at the intersection of Shaw and Blackstone to meet traffic and sell papers. There, Bee writers, students from California State University, Fresno, representatives of the Fresno Grizzlies, the Fresno Monsters, Mayor Ashley Swearengin and her office, and other community dignitaries sold Kids Day newspapers.

Swearengin appreciates residents’ participation in benefiting Children’s Hospital and honors their contributions to the community, she said.

“Children’s Hospital is an incredible asset to our community, and I love to see all these people out here for a common purpose,” Swearengin said. “Any parent or grandparent or parent or guardian who has had a child at Children’s Hospital knows how important this day is. It’s a fun day, and looking out and seeing all of the high school and college kids out here is very heartwarming.”

According to Boren, the objective of fundraising through Kids Day is both productive and significant to the lives impacted by the hospital.

“Valley Children’s [sic] is the main hospital for children between Sacramento and Los Angeles,” Boren said. “We have a lot of poverty in this area, and they need a lot of help to provide the great service they do to all the children. I think everybody’s been touched; their lives have been touched in some way by Children’s Hospital. It’s been a lot of fun to support the cause personally and it’s a big thing for our community.”

Area assembles to benefit hospital

Over the 24 years of Kids Day, Ray Steele, former President and Publisher of The Fresno Bee, has observed developments and improvements in terms of community involvement.

“There’s been a lot more participation,” Steele said. “The first year I think we raised about $45,000 or something. Now you can get all of these young people and high school and college people all over the place selling papers. It’s great.”

Participants like Swearengin invent ways to liven up the early morning sales through competition.

“I love coming out here,” Swearengin said. “Last year, I took it as a personal challenge to outsell Jim Boren; I was successful by a long shot. It gets my competitive juices going, and maybe this year I will outsell Bill McEwen [Bee columnist], although he’s got a pretty loud shirt on there, so he’s getting people’s attention.”

The experience of selling Kids Day papers is personal to Fresno State Alpha Pi Sigma sorority member Graciela Deniz, as she is a pre-nursing major. Even though she woke up early to arrive at 2 a.m., she was energized by the enthusiastic atmosphere at Shaw and Blackstone, she said.

“It [working] is pretty exciting,” Deniz said. “The people who are working here [and] the energy that they give you is crazy. I guess they call it the celebrity corner, and it’s just been an exciting time. As tired as we’re going to be, it’s pretty exciting.”

In addition to local mascots such as Parker of the Grizzlies, Deke of the Fresno Monsters and Scoopy of The Fresno Bee, live entertainment was provided by the Bullard High School drumline.

“Our school’s a heavy supporter of Kids Day and Valley Children’s Hospital [sic], so we wanted to do whatever we could to get out here and drum up some support for the school and for the hospital,” band director Matt Carroll said. “It’s absolutely insane with all the energy and all the people going to and from work, and I’m glad we’re here.”

For more information, read the March 7 article,
Kids Day assembles FC volunteers.

Nick Avery and Austin Ward also contributed to this article.

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