Students at William Allen Middle School in Moorestown, NJ, are finding unique ways to give back to the community through the creation of “21st Century Challenges,” a 60-day course designed to raise funds to support a local charitable organization. Thanks to the inspirational story of a fellow classmate, Melvin Sheppard, this year’s beneficiary was the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Cooper University Hospital.
For Melvin and his family, Cooper’s NICU will always hold a very special place in their hearts. Fourteen years ago, Melvin was born at Cooper nine weeks premature, weighing only 2.9 pounds. His life was saved due to the exceptional care and life saving equipment at Cooper. Since then, Melvin has created his own charity “Pennies From Melvin,” in which he collects pennies throughout the year to personally hand deliver to the team of nurses and physicians at Cooper. In its sixth year, he has donated more than $1,500 to help families in the NICU.
Once the students learned more about their fellow classmate’s unique story, the decision to support Cooper for this year’s charity assignment became obvious. Keeping with Melvin’s yearly tradition, the money raised by the class, $487.00, went towards supporting mother’s and their newborns at Cooper.