Peek and Tyler Cashman with the funds raised from Penny Wars

Sadie Peek, one of U.S. Pain’s pediatric pain warriors, is proof that one young person really can have an impact on the world. Last year, as a junior at St. Bernard School in Uncasville, CT, she had a great idea: setting up a fundraiser for U.S. Pain that would allow classes to compete against each other—even undermine each other—to raise donations. “Penny Wars on Pain” was born.

“Penny Wars on Pain” uses a novel approach to raising money. Like many other fundraisers, there’s a prize for the class that raises the most money (in this case, the winners celebrated with a donut party); unlike most other fundraisers, there’s an element of sabotage in play. The challenge’s basis is to raise the greatest amount of money using the smallest possible denominations of coins. Each class has a donation box, and each penny added by a student is a positive point for his or her class. The twist is that students then can sabotage the other classes by dropping denominations larger than a penny into other classes’ bins, which counts for negative points for the class receiving them. For instance, if you drop $1? That’s negative 100 points.

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