Some area schools have found a unique way to raise money at a metro shopping mall by participating in a community-driven program committed to building relationships with local schools.
My School’s Cool allows schools to compete for much-needed funds when school supporters shop at Quail Springs Mall. Schools will compete with each other for the highest accumulation of points and earn cash rewards totaling $25,000.
This is the third year Quail Springs will offer the contest, said Jennifer Bradford with Quail Springs Mall.
Deer Creek Prairie Vale Elementary is one of the schools participating.
“This is the third year we have participated,” said Michelle Anderson, Prairie Vale’s principal. “We get an email at the beginning of each school year asking if we want to participate. Everyone at our school shops, eats and goes to the movies at the mall, so we figured it would be a great, easy way to raise money.”
Bradford said they have space for 10 schools each year.
“We send out an announcement to all area schools and the first 10 to apply are in the program,” Bradford said. “We only had nine schools apply this year.”
The mall gives out $25,000 total in prize money with first place winning $9,000, second place receiving $6,000, third place goes home with $3,700 and the remaining $6,300 is divided among the remaining schools based on their percentage of points.
“We keep a database of school contacts and send out a letter or email with program information,” Bradford said.
With the winning total of the receipts turned in last year tallying more than $215,000, students attending Prairie Vale Elementary in Deer Creek-Edmond are working hard to win first place this year.
Schools can earn points by including information about the mall and program in their school newsletters and communication, school displays and events, social media posts and participating in mall events, Bradford said.
“We also designate certain retailers or types of retailers as double or triple point receipts each month. For example, all October receipts from food merchants were worth double points.”
Schools sign up Oct. 1 and participate in competitions as well as saving receipts through April with the winners announced in May.
“It is so easy to help,” Anderson said, “and (there are) a number of ways for our school to get credit for the receipts. Parents and community members can drop their receipts by the school or mail them to us. There are also lockers with each participating school’s name on them by the food court and the receipts can be dropped off there.”
Anderson said the money the students have earned has been used for technology, laptops, computers, iPads, SMART boards and projectors.
“We are currently raising money for a language lab for the students to learn a second language,” Anderson said.
Schools participating in this year’s program in addition to Prairie Vale include: Centennial Elementary, Edmond Public School District; Deer Creek Intermediate, Grove Valley Elementary and Rose Union Elementary in the Deer Creek School District; Greystone Lower Elementary in Oklahoma City, Lakehoma Elementary in Mustang and Northwood Elementary and Piedmont Intermediate in Piedmont.
FOR MORE information about entering the contest, email Bradford at Jennifer.Bradford@generalgrowth.com.