TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX) – Two area schools are planning fundraisers to put new technology in the classroom. As a bonus, students get to be outside and build community spirit among their peers.

Vera C. O’Leary and Robert Stuart middle schools will host the walk-a-thon fundraisers at the schools on Friday. It is something that Robert Stuart has done for several years now, but it will be the first for O’Leary.

“It is the school’s only fundraiser for the year,” said Kim Dahlquist, sixth-grade teacher and student council advisor at Robert Stuart. “All of the money raised will go toward technology for the school.”

Dahlquist said her school this year lost about 60 desktop computers due to a virus, and the funds raised will help supply new Chromebooks for the students. The school’s goal this year: $15,000.

That’s a lofty goal since last year’s funds were less than half that, but Dahlquist is hoping for more participation and more generous donations this time around.

Funds are raised by suggested participation fees for the walk-a-thon in which students are asked to complete at least four laps at the school’s track. A minimum of $10 is suggested for each student.

“If each student participated that’d be about $7,000,” Dahlquist said, but noting families usually wind up giving more for the cause.

“We’re trying to ramp things up this year and to get students more excited,” she said. “We’ve doubled our goal – last year was just really low – but we usually get around $12,000 or so.”

Each grade level has two hours outside to complete the marathon. Parents also can participate, she said, or people can make a flat donation. Dahlquist said the event at her school begins at 9 a.m. Friday and will end the same day at about 3:30 p.m.

Besides walking for a good cause – a cause that ultimately benefits the students with new computers – the event is rewarding in other ways.

“It gets the kids out moving and is good for their brains and bodies,” Dahlquist said, noting it also is a good way for students to socialize with their peers. “It’s a great way to build community among grade levels. … I’m just really big on building school community, and this is a non-threatening and fun way for kids to get to know each other.”