LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) -

A  challenge to make a difference in the community is accepted by two Lincoln Middle School students in La Crosse.

An officer who is part of the G.R.E.A.T program at the school challenged students to find a way to help their community or "pay it forward."

Sixth graders Katie Sauer and Tori Winchelt took that challenge to heart. The duo teamed up to raise more than $600 for Children's Miracle Network.

The girls presented the organization with a check at their school Thursday.

Their idea came after remembering the story of Tanner Novak who was born with a congenital heart defect.  

What started off as just a challenge for the girls, quickly grew into something much bigger.

"Katie had this idea to raise money, and so then our health project came up, and then we just kind of put them together, and it just kind of worked out by itself," said Winchelt. 

"My mom works there, and so I am very familiar of what they do there, and I've met a lot of the kids and their stories are really sad, so I wanted to help," said Sauer.

The two girls raised the money through donations from the community.

They also sold homemade bracelets and cupcakes at garage sales.