A fifth-grade class at Emerson Magnet School found a local nonprofit in need of help -- and it sprang into action.

A fifth-grade class at Emerson Magnet School found a local nonprofit in need of help -- and it sprang into action.

As part of a yearlong service-learning project, the students worked with the Westerville Special Olympics, Westerville City Schools Americorps Service-Learning fellow Helen Chan and local graphic designer Mary McNitt to create a new logo and brochure for Westerville Special Olympics.

The project started with Bethany Morris' fifth-grade class coming up with community groups to which they would like to donate their time and efforts.

Student Christina Himes championed Westerville Special Olympics, but her classmates weren't so quick to catch on. Students were split into seven groups, and Himes lobbied them until they came around.

"I was really surprised that we actually did this project," Himes said.

Once Westerville Special Olympics was suggested, representatives from the group came in to talk to the students about their program and their greatest need: better publicity.

"The more we learned about the Westerville Special Olympics, we learned they are thriving and growing, but not a lot of people know about them," Chan said.

The seven groups of three to four students each came up with a brochure for Westerville Special Olympics, learning about graphic design and getting hands-on design experience along the way, Chan said.

McNitt worked to merge all of the groups' presentation into one leaflet that Westerville Special Olympics volunteers will hand out during the Fourth of July parade and the Westerville Music & Arts Festival.

Students also created and sold packets of reading cards to raise about $500 to fund the printing of 6,000 brochures.

Along the way, students covered math, social studies, technology and language-arts skills that are part of the fifth-grade curriculum, Morris said.

"We've been able to cover a lot of the Ohio content standards with this," she said. "This was a supreme example of service learning, where you take what you need to cover in the classroom and find a community partnership and merge the two."

Westerville Special Olympic coordinator Alice Wilson said she was thrilled with the results.

"You guys have captured what we're all about," she told the students.