The Riverbank Federated Women’s Club (RFWC) gathered for their regularly scheduled meeting earlier this month, where they presented Riverbank Language Academy (RLA) teacher Elizabeth Vigil with $1,000 as “matching funds” for the RLA Outdoor Education Fund.
Students at RLA have been fundraising since September for the outdoor ed camp, offering Mountain Mike’s coupon books, Casino bus trip tickets, Smencils (smelly pencils) and hot chocolate to offset the expense of camp which is $299 per child at Foothill Horizons.
“For the coupon books and tickets, whatever each child or parent sold went into their own personal accounts and the other money has gone to a general fund, along with donations,” stated Vigil. “We also got $300 from Riverbank Rotary, $1290 for RLA ASB, and $700 from the county. Students have also purchased candy and gum and sold in their neighborhood at their own discretion.”
As the yearbook editor, Vigil explained that she had a student layout the sixth grade camp page and asked him to write a small paragraph about his experience. However, she then learned that particular student did not go due to the cost. This truly bothered her, which led her to coordinate the fundraising endeavors.
“It has been past practice that the sixth grade homeroom teachers usually coordinate the fundraising efforts, unfortunately last year that didn’t happen,” stated Vigil. “I am technically a seventh grade homeroom teacher, but I am coordinating the fundraising efforts to help out our sixth grade brand new teachers, since it can be an overwhelming task.”
The Sixth Grade Outdoor Education Camp is offered to sixth graders at Riverbank Language Academy and for many students in the past the cost has been too much. Vigil initiated the fundraising projects at RLA because she had seen the disappointment in students in the past years from not being able to afford the cost of attending camp.
“With the money from the general fund we were able to offer each child an $80 scholarship in exchange for performing five hours of community service,” added Vigil. “Since our students are 11- and 12-years old, we asked them to stay on campus for the community service.”
For community service students picked up garbage, helped in the cafeteria and assisted in classrooms.
There have been numerous fundraisers that the 42 sixth graders have participated in and the RFWC offered to match up to $1,000 of the funds raised. The combined efforts have helped the RLA sixth graders raise $12,000 that was needed for all sixth grader students to attend camp.
“I didn’t get to go when I was in sixth grade for the same reason so I felt like lack of funds should not be a reason any students gets left behind,” expressed Vigil.
“She (Vigil) has definitely done a terrific job ensuring no one would miss out this spring,” stated Marilyn McRitchie, Co-President, RFWC.