Way to Go: Matthew Yodice, Lindenhurst

Matthew Yodice, 8, a third-grader at West Gates Matthew Yodice, 8, a third-grader at West Gates Avenue Elementary School in Lindenhurst, recently used the power of social media to achieve a unique goal: collecting donations from all 50 states for a school fundraiser to benefit the American Heart Association. Yodice raised $1,800 of the $18,000 the school collected in donations. Photo Credit:

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A Lindenhurst student recently used the power of social media to achieve a unique goal: collecting donations from all 50 states for a school fundraiser.

Matthew Yodice, a third-grader at West Gates Avenue Elementary School, raised $1,800 this spring through his school's participation in the American Heart Association's Jump Rope for Heart program.

The campaign asks children to solicit pledges from family and friends based on their participation in jump rope activities during physical education classes.

Matthew, 8, initially set a personal goal of $1,000. After reaching that mark in less than a week with donations from 10 different states, he modified his goal to involve all 50 states.

To achieve that feat, he made videos about his efforts that his family shared on Facebook.

"It was kind of hard and easy at the same time," Matthew said. "I was very excited when I saw the donations coming in."

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He ultimately received donations not only from all 50 states but also from Canada, England, Puerto Rico and China. To celebrate his efforts, a representative from the American Heart Association's Long Island Chapter visited the school to present Matthew with a certificate.

Overall, West Gates raised $18,000 -- the highest amount the school has raised.

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