As an alumna of PS6, the Penny Harvest is a huge part of my life. I began participating in the Penny Harvest in the third grade, where I attended weekly meetings during my lunch period to be part of the Roundtable.
In the 4th grade, I was voted manager of the Roundtable after giving a compelling speech to other students as to why I should win the title of manager. It is now 7 years later, and I vividly remember writing and delivering that speech. I remember the feeling of nervousness before the speech and the feeling of relief afterwards. When I won the election, I thought about how much more work had to be done. I ran meetings, contacted organizations, and other tasks such as hosting and leading the Tally Rally – the assembly at the end of the collection to celebrate all the student’s hard work. Because PS 6 reached an all-time Penny Harvest fundraising record, the students were especially excited and motivated.
During my time there, PS 6 became a pilot school for many other beneficial Common Cents projects such as collecting toiletries for the Doe Fund and starting a school-wide recycling program. After graduating, I moved on to NYC Lab School and brought the Penny Harvest with me. Now, seven years later, I am a junior at the Bronx High School of Science and I am starting my second year as an intern at Common Cents. If it wasn’t for this leadership opportunity that Common Cents provided me at such a young age, I would have never gotten over my nerves. The Penny Harvest has taught me how to be an effective leader and that even at a young age, you can make a huge difference in the world.
For every student, the experience that the Penny Harvest provides is more than just giving back to the community. It was about the leadership skills and the sense of importance students feel from actively participating. My peers from PS 6 have all learned the value of service and continue to give back to their communities in order to improve them. I have never heard of another program in which so many young students are as passionate and dedicated as the Penny Harvest students are. My name is Ava Weiner and I am a proud Penny Harvest Alum.