By Claire Pomer, Harwood Union correspondent

Harwood Middle School seventh graders from Team Terra will be hosting a walk-a-thon on the track to fundraise for U Matter, For the Love of Dogs Vermont, and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. The Friday, May 17, event is open to both students and community members and takes place from 1:30 to 3p.m.





This event is planned and run completely by the seventh graders. “We’re only guiding and facilitating the students,” English teacher Meredith Vaughn said. The students formed eight committees to run the walk-a-thon that cover various areas, including social media, the website, and sponsorships.

Students pitched their ideas for causes to fundraise for, using Shark Tank as inspiration, looking at the “problems created, the effects of that problem, and possible solutions and actions that people can take to address them.” There were originally 11 organizations on the table, and they voted on three: U Matter, For the Love of Dogs Vermont, and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. 

U Matter is a suicide prevention program that raises awareness about teen suicide and provides resources for those in need. It also trains educators and community members about suicide prevention in schools. For the Love of Dogs Vermont is a nonprofit dog rescue in Waitsfield that rescues dogs from high-kill shelters or dogs that have become homeless or abandoned. St. Jude’s is a children’s research hospital originally based in Tennessee that focuses on childhood cancer. 

The walk-a-thon coincides with Harwood’s Spirit Week, and the high schoolers can earn “spirit points” by walking the most laps or raising the most money. Community members are also welcome to attend, and there will be a suggested entrance fee of $5 for community members and $1 for students. There will also be a raffle to win prizes from local businesses, like Alpine Options, Bicycle Express, Red Hen, Cold Hollow, and others. The fact-finding committee, which is responsible for researching the causes, will prepare posters with facts about each cause to read as you walk, along with a trifold about each cause. 

“We’re hoping that the community joins us for this event to come walk on the track, even if it’s only for a short period of time, to come support the students and the causes,” Vaughn said. The event will be during ELO 1 for high schoolers and ELO 2 for middle schoolers. Food and beverages will be provided.