Third grader raises big bucks for Jump Rope for Heart
By Meg Ferrante; Staff Writer
Go behind the scenes of nearly any Morgan County Elementary School fundraiser and the little man holding the biggest bag of cash is likely to be Grant Cofer.
The third grader raised nearly $100 for the Ugandan school children early this year. Shortly thereafter, he was turning in a hefty packet with $500 for the American Heart Association's Jump Rope for Heart.
"That's the most that's been raised since I've been here and that's been seven years," says Dusty Hawkins, PE instructor and Jump Rope for Heart event coordinator. He adds that Coach Kathy Hubbard has been at MCES 14 years and never seen more money turned in.
After collecting $300 for the primary school Jump for Heart last year (also a top dollar effort), Cofer decided to raise the bar this year. But a few nights before the due date, his $500 goal was looking a little doubtful.
"He gets nervous and thinks he doesn't want to do it. He's a procrastinator," his mother, Glenda Cofer, says. "But the big thing with Grant is, he wants to win. He wants to help people at the same time. He has a good heart. But if he's got something to do, he wants to exceed in it. He doesn't want to be the bottom dog."
So at Wednesday night church that week, his grandmother helped him write up a little script explaining Jump for Heart and why he was collecting money. He hit up all the adults there that night, pocketing $5 here, another $6 or so there and went to bed with $404.
Sitting in the school car-rider drop-off line the next morning, Grant says his mother surprised him with enough money to total $500. A call he placed to his great uncle had done the trick and the check was in the mail, so his mom spotted him the final $96.
"That really surprised me," he says. "I was so glad to make my goal. I thought it was cool to make money for the American Heart Association. I really like raising money. It's really fun."
Glenda says she couldn't resist. "When you see him get out and try and do his best it and you help him get it done by himself instead of me doing it all... I wanted to see him succeed."
Still, she worries about the success getting out of hand. "He thinks he has to save everyone," she says. When his teacher asks him to bring in a bag of candy, he tells his mom he needs two. When she asks for pencils, he claims he needs 60, "just in case somebody else doesn't get to bring one, Mom."
"I tell him, 'That's sweet Grant, but you're breaking me here....'"
Glenda says it's a good thing Grant is an only child. "That's why he got a dog, because he's not getting a brother or a sister. The money for a dog was well spent. He might break the bank on dog treats, but that's about it."
That is until Grant trains his pup to put out its paw for the next big donation.
PHOTO BY M. FERRANTE
JUMP ROPE FOR MORE THAN HEART MCES P.E. Coach Dusty Hawkins congratulates Grant Cofer on his fund-raising efforts for this year's Jump Rope for Heart. Cofer, a third grader in Mrs. Jenny Hill's class, turned in $500 for the event. Hawkins says that Jump Rope for Heart is a good cause and a great way to meet the Georgia education standards for jump rope, cardiovascular work and teaching the resting and target heart rates. "It's an easy tool," he says. "Someone in nearly every family has probably had heart problems of some sort. We touch on eating habits and cardio fitness. We stress that lifestyle is the key to a healthy heart."
PRINTED IN THE APRIL 16, 2009 EDITION