Colonial Hills Elementary School students recently repurposed materials from a local business to create "little people" to decorate a holiday window with the theme, "It's a Small World at Colonial Hills."

More than 400 students painted wine corks and created small ceramic heads to make the figurines to decorate a window for the Old Worthington Partnership's "It's a Wonderful Window" contest. They worked on the window Nov. 8 at House Wine, 644 High St.

The fundraising contest is a partnership with 22 local charities and 20 merchants lining High Street in Worthington, said Annina Parini, executive director of the Old Worthington Partnership.

"Our friend and volunteer Jennifer Lyon came up with the idea years ago," Parini said. "We loved the idea of having unique holiday window displays and Jennifer thought it would be great to partner the store windows with individual charities."

She said the contest encourages the charities to communicate with their audiences to vote for a window.

"Each year, we hope to bring more people to Old Worthington to shop and dine while giving charities a unique way to bring awareness to their cause and raise money," Parini said.

She said patrons vote for their favorite window by placing a minimum donation of $1 in a ballot box or they can vote by text via PayPal.

The charities will keep 100 percent of the money in their ballot box, according to the Experience Worthington website.

Colonial Hills visual-arts teacher Kelly Liddil said PTA president Sarah Mullen led the school's involvement in the window-decorating contest.

"We decided we wanted to repurpose materials from House Wine to save money and connect to the business that is lending us their window," Liddil said. "We had the idea that the wine corks looked a lot like the 1980s Little People we grew up playing with and it went from there."

Liddil brought in her own Fisher-Price Little People toys she played with as a child so the students could be inspired by them.

"My mom saves everything," she said. "The kids then all worked on painting corks, making heads, then painting the heads the many skin tones that represent our diverse student body."

She said the clay heads were all fired in the art program's new kiln.

"All the kids had the opportunity to participate in helping, making people or painting blocks," Liddil said. "They are proud of their little toys and are so excited to come see the window."

Parini said each of the 22 organizations has a different theme for a window.

Voting began this week and continues through Dec. 26. The winning window will be announced during the first week of January.

Organizations that participated include Penny Harvest/Evening Street Elementary School; the Central Ohio Model Railroad Club; the Worthington Education Foundation; the Worthington Citizens Police Academy; the Cat Welfare Association; Kinder Key; and the Worthingway Middle School PTA.

Parini said she enjoys working with the charities and pairing them with merchants.

"These nonprofits work so hard to raise money for their individual causes and it's fun to see them create a window display that reflects their mission or is unique to draw your eye," she said. "It's great to see the creativity of these organizations each year and to have a wonderful window display throughout our business district."

The Old Worthington Partnership also is a nonprofit organization, working on "the Old Worthington experience" by collaboration, engagement and sustainability, Parini said.

The partnership organizes other community events, such as the Worthington Farmers Market, Picnic with the Partnership, the Worthington Arts Festival, the Holiday Open House and others, she said.

pwillis@thisweeknews.com

@PamelaThisWeek