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Ox Ridge School In Darien Organizes Stay-At-Home Fundraiser

Ox Ridge Elementary students (left to right): Harrison Dilts, Tate Sedlock, Walker Harvey, Ella Harvey and Blake Wilks wait to be picked up outside of school Friday afternoon with their "Big Night In" game kits.
Ox Ridge Elementary students (left to right): Harrison Dilts, Tate Sedlock, Walker Harvey, Ella Harvey and Blake Wilks wait to be picked up outside of school Friday afternoon with their "Big Night In" game kits. Photo Credit: Jill Harvey

DARIEN, Conn. -- On Friday night, parents and students of Ox Ridge School enjoyed their school's biggest fundraiser - from the comfort of their homes.

Recognizing the importance of family time, fundraising co-chairs Kate Kaplan and Linda Costello created a night to stay at home with the kids, play games and give back to the school.

"There doesn't seem to be one fall weekend when there isn't a fundraising event to attend," said co-chair Kate Kaplan. "So, we decided to create one where you didn't need to dress up or hire a babysitter."

Parents purchased a "Big Night In" kit through Ox Ridge's PTO, which included a set of customized Ox Ridge playing cards, a set of dice, a game instruction booklet, snacks and food gift certificates for take-out from Planet Pizza and Chocolate Works. The games, packaged in a reusable popcorn bucket, were delivered to students' classrooms Friday, just in time for the school's "Big Night In."

"What many people don't realize is that the money being raised is needed for the students," Kaplan said. "It's money for extra education opportunities for our children that regular school funding doesn't allow for. Fundraising events can get expensive to put on and to attend, and often only a small portion of that money goes to the school."

Not in this case. A total of 96 percent of the money collected from the game bucket sales will go directly back to the school. The other 4 percent covers the cost to make the kits. The money collected will enable Ox Ridge PTO to fund the school's enrichment programs - such as field trips, author visits and curriculum extras, which cost $110 per student.

"Our kids are growing up so fast," said co-chair Linda Costello. "They are so busy with after school activities that it becomes necessary to stop and carve out family time. Hopefully, this fundraiser will not only make money for our students but also remind parents to put down their phones and iPads and embrace a night in playing games together."

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