Although most of the time, being in business is about making money, Newton High School business instructor Melinda Rangel wants to teach her students that giving away money is important, too.

The Newton High School Business Professionals of America chapter, of which Rangel is an advisor, recently raised $116 and donated a box of food for Special Olympics athletes.

"I think community service is a valuable thing for these kids to learn, to give back to their community," Rangel said. "... The kids can see the benefit of it."

Junior Ashlynn Hamm, a member of BPA, agrees community service is an important part of the organization's mission.

"Business Professionals of America really helps to make students aware that there's more than just themselves in the world, that other people have needs," she said.

BPA is a national organization for students interested in pursuing careers in business management, office administration, information technology and other related career fields. The organization as a whole supports Special Olympics, and Newton BPA wanted to do a project on a local level to help the cause, Hamm said.

The club tries to do a service project each year and in the past helped make peppernuts and soup mixes as a fundraiser. This year, they chose to do something a little different, and they sold "puppy chow" to raise money for Special Olympics.

The students also donated snack food items such as granola bars and fruit snacks for the Special Olympics athletes to take when they go to tournaments.

"We know that they spend a lot of time working and traveling," said junior Megan Regier, who is the historian for the Newton BPA chapter.

The students were able to present a check and the food donations to two Special Olympics representatives, Joey Schmidt and Cindy Miller.

The club works on other service projects throughout the year, and also volunteers at local retirement homes.

The group is planning to sell pies from Carriage Crossing in Yoder to raise money for state and national BPA competitions. They also are planning a fundraiser for a student at Newton High School who has had brain surgery. The fundraiser is a dodgeball tournament at noon March 9. All ages are welcome at the event, and no pre-registration is required. A $5 donation is required to play.

"Giving to the community makes a big difference," Regier said. "You see the difference you're making in the future. It just really shows the kids in high school what a difference they can make."

For more information about the BPA fundraisers, contact Newton High School at 284-6280.