Johnston staff takes Red Paper Clip Challenge to give back to community

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW thumb 34JOHNSTON, Ia. (Sept. 8, 2022) — About 30 staff members of the Johnston Early Learning Academy (JELA) spread out into the community this week with a goal in mind: Giving back.

The activity was based on the well-known Red Paper Clip Challenge started in 2005 by Canadian blogger Kyle MacDonald. JELA staff members were seeing what they could get by trading a red paper clip for something better, with the ultimate plan of donating to others.

“It was a team-building activity with all my staff with an emphasis on focusing on the JCSD Strategic Plan goal of Community Engagement,” said Joy Palmer, director of JELA.IMG 1683

Divided into five leadership teams, the teachers and associates had about 90 minutes to complete the challenge.

With each team, that red paper clip was traded six to nine times — ultimately resulting in $100 worth of gift cards, chiropractic adjustments, movie theater tickets, T-shirts, coffee, hotel stays, detailing packages, coffee and more.

IMG 3949All proceeds were then donated to the community — from Johnston police and fire, to a family in hospice. Three special gifts included: 

  •     Fareway will provide an end-of-the-year party for JELA kids.
  •      Former Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson (the twin brother of a JELA administrative assistant) will give a motivational speech to JHS football players
  •     JHS football players will read to preschoolers at JELA during homecoming week.

The activity was successful on both fronts, building camaraderie and giving back. All agreed that it was a great kickoff to the 2022-23 school year. 

“It was a great opportunity to get to interact with such caring and good spirited members of the community as well as the wonderful hard working staff members of the Johnston Community School District,” said JELA administrative assistant Patrick Jackson. “They really made the paper clip challenge special and worth every trade!”


JELA's Red Paper Clip Challenge 5