It’s Kids Day. And it’s hard to believe the annual fundraiser for Valley Children’s Hospital has hit the big three-oh.
Since 1987, volunteers have fanned out across the Valley, selling special editions of The Bee. At $1 a paper (some people donate more), The Bee and television partner ABC30 have raised nearly $8 million for the hospital.
The goal this year, the loftiest ever, is $625,000, topping last year’s record of $600,000. As of 5:15 p.m. Tuesday, the fundraising campaign had collected $310,000, hospital spokeswoman Zara Arboleda said.
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Let’s check on how the day went for some Kids Day volunteers:
Buchanan-Clovis teamup: Members of the Buchanan High School Leadership team, along with a friend from Clovis High, were at Fowler and Herndon avenues in Clovis, hawking Kids Day Bees in the pre-dawn hours.
“We put our rivalry aside for a good cause,” said Ferni Morales. Fellow Buchanan Bears Carsen Beckwith and Morgan Mitchell were at the corner, joined by Clovis Cougar Anthony Prentice.
This is their third year selling Kids Day papers. They got to the corner at 5 a.m.
Prentice said he has sold Kids Day papers for years, starting with his dad, who has since passed away.
Fairmont Elementary: About a dozen students and volunteers from Fairmont Elementary School in Sanger wrapped up their morning of selling Kids Days newspapers at Fowler and Kings Canyon Road around 8 a.m., collecting several hundred dollars.
"We got 16 $20," shouted Josiah Reese, 7.
Big sister Alyssa, 13, has been a Kids Day volunteer for three years, getting up at 3:45 am to make it to her designated corner.
"It's a lot of fun. You get to go out with your friends, sell newspapers. It goes to a great cause," she said. Fairmont Elementary has about 50 to 60 students volunteer every year, a school employee said.
Clovis East: Members of the Clovis East Asian Club claimed their spot at Clovis and Ashlan avenues at 2 a.m. so they could beat out other schools for a prime location.
"There's competition," said Branden Vang, 17.
The prime time for selling was between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m., club members said, as traffic started to slow about 9 a.m.
About 50 students signed up to volunteer.
"We just came to volunteer, and get out of class, and it's community service," Vang said with a smile and a laugh.
Pi Kappa Alpha: The Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity from Fresno State has the Clovis East team beat.
Fraternity members staked out their spots at Clovis and Shaw avenues around 10 p.m Monday night in their quest to sell the most newspapers. The group has sold Kids Day papers at that corner for the last three years.
Fraternity members say they were the top-selling Greek team from Fresno State last year, raising between $2,000 and $3,000. The team hopes to do as well this year.
By 9:45 a.m., the group had sold more than half of the 800 newspapers it received in the morning. The fraternity's vice president, Steven Peters, wants to pick up at least 500 more to sell by early afternoon.
But it's now about how many newspapers they sell, Peters said. "It's about awareness, to let people know what they are supporting.”
Visalia: Students from Mt. Whitney High worked the corners at several key intersections, including Mooney Boulevard at Noble Avenue.
Aelene Cisneros, 17, who sold Kids Day editions last year, said she was pleasantly surprised by how generous some customers are.
“One lady even gave me $45,” she said.
Kids Day is becoming the thing to do as more students joined in this year, she said.
Classmate Jasmin Arreola, a 16-year-old junior, also was selling Kids Day for a second years.
“It’s entertaining to see how much people really care about these kids,” she said.
Mt.Whitney High junior class vice president Ethan Candelario, 17, staked out a high-yielding curb to catch the traffic exiting from Highway 198 onto Mooney Boulevad, which gets stopped at the stoplight.
“They’re nice,” he said about the buyers. “It makes me happy they want to support the cause.”
Golden West High students staked out Ben Maddox Way and other locations.
“I’m so glad to be doing Kids Day,” said senior Madison Walker-Bursiaga. “My mom would buy Kids Day when I was growing up, so it’s so cool to be part of it now.”
Sunnyside High: Ada Vang, a senior at Sunnyside High School, ran from corner to corner at Kings Canyon Road and Peach Avenue, hawking her two stacks of Kids Day newspapers. She was almost through one stack by 8:30 a.m.
"Get your Kids Day newspaper, only $1!" Vang yelled. "Get an awesome newspaper!"
"My voice is kind of dying," she said.
Vang started her day at 5 a.m. and planned to stay on the corner until early afternoon. About a handful of students manned each corner of the busy intersection. It is Vang's first time volunteering.
"I saw my sister volunteer when she was a senior and I wanted to do the same."
Bee staffers BoNhia Lee, Lewis Grisworld, Kathy Mahan, Craig Kohlruss, Gary Funk and Jim Boren contributed words, video and photos to this report.