By Evan, Atrium School Parent
I figured it was a whim, this whole "MASS Helpings" charity idea. A kind and lovely whim, to be sure, but no more than that. How could it be otherwise, when a group of third-grade friends hatch plans to change the world by selling handmade bracelets and used stuffed animals.
But the girls were persistent, and they found some mentors at Atrium School who believed in their idea. Caryn and Jaimee, the girls' Grade 3 teachers, and Linda, Atrium's Head of School, above all.
With the right nourishment, this sweet seed of an idea took root. The idea of selling homewares morphed into a more promising bake-sale proposal, with a side-business in recyclabes. And founders Molly, Avery, Saskia and Sarah (the M, A, S, and S behind "MASS Helpings") committed to supporting a trio of diseases which had afflicted their near and dear: diabetes, cancer, and multiple sclerosis.
As a parent, my only job in all this was to make sure the bake sale wouldn't end like the cheese shop skit from Monty Python, all willing customers, no comestibles. So we hosted a bake-a-thon playdate and tried our best to keep the sous-chefs from eating all the goodies.
It mostly worked. When bake sale Friday rolled around, there were homemade chocolate cupcakes with ganache frosting, madeleines, lemon-jelly bars, gluten-free brownies, and a bevy of other, irresistible sweets--artfully arranged on a table in the Atrium entryway.
Sales were stoked by an act of God, when pellets of hail fell from the skies--sending children and parents alike racing indoors for shelter, and charitable delicacies.
Short on experience, and faced with a hungry crowd, the girls made do with enthusiasm and an ample supply of latex gloves. Food disappeared, long lines winnowed, and the cash register filled with small bills and clanking change.
By the end, all that remained were a bare few scones, an overflowing cash box, and a group of girls smiling at their success.
In total, the girls raised over $300 for their charities, a tribute to the generosity of the community and the addictive quality of sugar. And no doubt this is merely the beginning; future efforts are sure to follow from this initial triumph.
All this because the girls refused to give up on their idea for a charity--and because they found some caring Atrium community members to support them.
Me, I figured it was just another passing youthful fancy, grand and ephemeral. I would have let the dream wither. Atrium made it thrive.