Lake Highlands Elementary students are bearing down. The fifth and sixth-grade students are making stuffed animals to raise money for camp, says school volunteer Carol Zirlin.

Students are asking for a $20 donation for each stuffed animal to raise funds for Camp Goddard, a week-long science-outdoors camp for elementary students. Last year, several students weren’t able to attend camp because they couldn’t afford it, Zirlin says.

“It’s a group effort for the children,” Zirlin says of the project. “They want to go as group. They don’t want anyone left behind.”

The camp costs about $150 per child, says Lake Highlands PTA member Nancy Sales. Sales says the project began last fall after the school’s head custodian, Ray Hyatt, suggested the children make holiday snowmen to raise money.

Zirlin pursued the idea and created a way for students to construct snowmen using burlap, shredded wood, black buttons, paint, scarves, hats and fake fur.

The completed snowmen were displayed at the Dallas Arboretum, Kuby’s Restaurant, Tom Thumb Food Center and the Plano’s Dickens Christmas Celebration. Since then, the youngsters have made Valentine bears and pandas, St. Patrick’s Day Irish Bears and spring rabbits.

Neighborhood schools and restaurants provided used cans for the stuffed animals’ bodies; among the groups assisting were Northlake, Wallace and White Rock elementaries; Lake Highlands Junior High; Lake Highlands High School; and Luby’s Cafeteria.

Project directors are proud of the children’s efforts to guarantee that every student can attend camp in September, Zirlin says.

“They’re doing it so there isn’t one child who says: I can’t go because I don’t have enough money,” Zirlin says.

For information, call Carol Zirlin at 214-348-3183 or Nancy Sales at 214-349-2372.