• Jan. 12, 2023

    Fort Couch Reach Out effort raises more than $22,000

    Reach OutFort Couch Middle School students raised more than $22,000 through the school’s annual Reach Out campaign that spanned from Dec. 12 through Dec. 22, 2022. The final total was announced during a school-wide assembly on Thursday, Dec. 22.

    The effort was spearheaded by the Fort Couch Student Council and its sponsor, Ms. Eliza Luxbacher, with support from the school’s administration, teachers and PTSO. 

    “This year's effort felt especially special because students truly leaned into the spirit by actively raising money independently of their family and friends' contributions,” Ms. Luxbacher said. “Students held their own fundraisers through offering services in their neighborhoods; some students went door-to-door asking for donations. It is empowering to see students' energy and effort toward being in service to others.”

    All six teams of seventh and eighth graders raced to collect the most donations. For the second year in a row, Team 2 was the highest earning team. Team 2 students and teachers earned an ice-skating field trip, which will take place in February.

    While the spirit of competition provided added excitement, the school community was more moved by the spirit of giving.

    “The annual Reach Out initiative is important because it allows our school community the opportunity to practice gratitude and to reflect on all of the resources and access we have in our lives,” Ms. Luxbacher said. “It provides students the opportunity to team together to support others and to experience the feeling of fulfillment that accompanies generosity.”

    The Helen Keller quote, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much,” puts into perspective the impact that Fort Couch students can have on others within their community and beyond. Ms. Luxbacher hopes that Reach Out campaign is impactful as students find new ways to make a difference in their community and world.

    “I hope that students recognize the immense ability they have to make a difference when they work together in an effort to uplift others,” she said. “It is so thrilling to be altogether in the gym during our Reach Out assembly, to hear the total collected announced, and to celebrate togetherness as we recognize the love and thought that was placed into making the initiative successful. It is my hope that students' middle school experiences in giving will encourage them to seek opportunities to share and to support moving forward.”

    While Ms. Luxbacher and Fort Couch Student Council are proud of the 2022 Reach Out campaign, they are ready to tackle additional projects this spring.

    “I am appreciative of Student Council’s effort toward making Reach Out happen,” Ms. Luxbacher said. “We look forward to continuing to create meaningful experiences for students and for our community throughout the remainder of the school year.”

    The monies raised will be divided among the following organizations:

    Miracle League of the South Hills: The Miracle League of the South Hills envisions a community where all people with disabilities have opportunities to enhance their lives as athletes, teammates, and in everyday life. The Miracle Field believes in bringing the game of baseball to children who may have never had the opportunity to play on a real field. By building a custom-designed field with a cushioned rubberized surface to help prevent injuries, wheelchair accessible dugouts and a completely flat surface to eliminate any barriers to wheel-chair bound or visually impaired players, the field has eliminated the challenges that prevent many children from playing the game of baseball. In addition to giving kids the chance to play the game, the Miracle League’s “Buddies” program creates relationships between kids. The Miracle League believes that the baseball field is a place that can connect all children by building teamwork and friendship.

    Giant Eagle Gift Cards to Upper St Clair Township Police Department: Each year Reach Out donates $5,000 in Giant Eagle gift cards to the Upper St. Clair Police Department. Police officers then hand deliver these gift cards to families in Upper St. Clair who need a little extra help during the holiday season.

    Bike MS: Bike MS is a fundraising event for Multiple Sclerosis research that involves more than 1,500 people cycling from north of Pittsburgh to Lake Erie over the span of two days and 150 miles. Fort Couch has a team of teachers, parents, friends, and, occasionally, students from across the district who train all spring while also raising as much money as possible in support of MS research.

    Hope for Haiti: Each year Fort Couch students team up with the Yahve-Jire Children's Foundation to collect and deliver much needed supplies to children in a small village outside of Port-au Prince, Haiti. The YJCF runs a small orphanage, a school with 60 students in grades K-5, and serves many other children in the town of Croix-des-Bouquets.