McKinney kindergarten student turns hugs into cash

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by MEGAN HARRIS

WFAA

Posted on May 3, 2011 at 5:22 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 4 at 2:58 PM

All year, we've profiled schools and students who've taken part in Rachel's Challenge.

WFAA has partnered with the non-profit organization. Its message is simple: Create a chain reaction of good.

Rachel Scott was the first killed in the mass shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado. In her journals, she wrote about wanting to impact the world... the idea that one good deed could lead to another.

And here is some proof that it has.

"I'm selling hugs for a dollar," proclaimed five-year-old Ian Vizcaino.

He's one of nearly 700 students at McGowen Elementary School in McKinney who was challenged to make an impact.

"We gave a dollar to everyone and asked them to see what a difference a dollar can make. To do something big... good for someone else," said McGowen counselor Sheila DeLeon.

The students at the school each took their dollar and came up with their own projects.

Ian turned his $1 into $62 by selling hugs. He wanted to use the money for a project that sends MP3 players with audio of the Bible to soldiers.

It wasn't long before the chain reaction started.

Ian's church heard about his project. That's when his $62 turned into $1,400.

"It really thrust our people into a giving frenzy," said Eric Hollar of One Cause Church.

"We are so proud of Ian," DeLeon said. "To think that a five-year-old could have made such a huge impact."

And it wasn't just Ian. As a whole, McGowen Elementary raised more than $5,000, benefiting more than 18 non-profit organizations.

"We have helped community members in McKinney to Children's Hospital to Children's Medical Network to the Wounded Warrior Project, so our effect has reached far beyond just McGowen and far beyond just the D-FW area," DeLeon said.

As for Ian Vizcaino, his summer plans are already in place. He plans to open a lemonade stand.

This is McGowen Elementary's first year to take part in Rachel's Challenge. It is one of nearly 180 schools in North Texas that have joined the program since WFAA's partnership began.

We'll be celebrating those efforts along with Rachel's Challenge at a community-wide rally. Thousands of students are expected Thursday at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco.

Gates open at 5:30. You can watch the chain reaction of good during our newscasts that night.

E-mail mharris@wfaa.com

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