SUMMIT, NJ - A popular visual depiction of a great idea is often shown as a light bulb appearing over the thinker's head. Well, the man that actually invented the light bulb, Thomas Edison, himself once said, "Vision without execution is a hallucination."
For two industrious Franklin Elementary School Fifth grade students, no such mirage exists, as the duo -- Mia and Lena -- came up with a novel fundraising concept, then collaborated implement the program throughout the school.
The two spearheaded a pop tab collection drive at Franklin, encouraging students, teachers and administrators throughout the school to aggregate their ring-top aluminum openers, which are then sold to a recycling service. The funds raised, in turn, will then be donated to the Ronald McDonald House in Long Branch..
The idea germinated when Lena was at the Ronald McDonald House making a donation over the summer, and saw that the organization had a pop tab program. She immediately thought of her good friend Mia, the two having met on the school playground as part of orientation. Ever since that day, the two had become fast friends, and she knew who pop tab partner would be.
Speaking to librarian Loreli Stochaj, who has counseled them through the process, the realized that they had to get the approval of Franklin Principal Felix Gill. Normally this would entail something relative un-sophisticated, such as walking up to the principal and saying, "Hey Mr. Gill, can we do a pop tab drive?"
That wasn't going to cut it for this titanic team of fundraisers.
They built a power point presentation, researching the proper brand colors, logos, and the like for Ronald McDonald House. They made an appointment with the principal, and then made their pitch.
Plastic jars were put in classrooms from November 17 until just before the Holiday break, and there was also a jar for monetary donations for the "pop tabless" population. Posters were customized and put in strategic, high-traffic locations throughout the school, such as stairwells, and by the cafeteria and gym.
Where does all of this organization come from? "My mom," said Mia, "she is really organized."
All told, more than six pounds of pop tabs were collected, along with cash donations approaching $200. The program has gotten the attention of a local Girl Scout Troop that wants to join the effort, and there is talk of expanding the collection drive to Wilson Elementary. Lena and Mia also have visions of a District-wide program.
In addition to the good feelings that come with helping those less fortunate, the program taught the two girls a valuable life lesson. Appropriately, in virtual unison, they say, "It was a lot of work, but If you are going to do something, be dedicated and follow through."