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As senior high school classes are beginning to wrap up their last remaining weeks before graduation, juniors are beginning to gear up for future fundraising efforts over the summer and fall months. These funds often help support school activities, sporting events, dances and event outings.

Instead of trying the same tried and boring fundraising ideas, the class of 2014 should consider taking a unique approach to fundraising, including:

  • Low-End Events – Instead of having gourmet-style dinners, consider embracing the last food truck trends. These corn dog booths, taco stands and donut trucks are less expensive, provide more interaction and ultimately attract a wider audience and crowd, drawing a more community-style event.
  • Reverse Raffles – Instead of offering an expensive car or gift that was painstaking donated by a community member, reverse raffles afford everyone in attendance the ability to receive a raffle ticket – free of charge! What is the catch? Instead of winning an awesome prize, the recipient receives a gag gift – much like a White Elephant party. For example, the winner has to dance with the team’s mascot, wear a band uniform and march with the band or simply dance with a group of clowns. At the end of the evening, guests can “sell” their tickets back for donations. After all, who wouldn’t gladly sell their tickets back to save a little fun-filled embarrassment?
  • Direct Action – Instead of simply asking people to donate money, ask people to donate to a direct cause. For example, the football team needs new sporting equipment, the school is seeking donations to purchase supplies for needy children, etc.
  • Work – Instead of simply asking for donations, asking people to donate work is a great way to involve the community in school spirit, volunteerism and fundraising.
  • Certified Mailings – Consider mailing out donation requests to alumni members, as this is a direct route to people who completed the school system, have good memories of the community and want to sponsor the latest graduating class.

Reminderband offers the latest styles and varieties of silicone bracelets, which are perfect “gifts” for people who are offering donations to local schools. These fundraiser bracelets can be personalized and offer custom bracelets for individual schools and/or graduating classes.

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High School Students have many decisions ahead of them as far as life changing experiences go.For her senior project, Michelle Jones decided to address the issue of drunk driving by holding a presentation for students in the Sonora (CA) high school’s auditorium. Speaking at the presentation was Mark Dyken, Director of the Jamestown Family Resource Center, who told a story about the loss of his young nephew to a drunk driver on Highway 26 about nine years ago.

The second speaker, Lynne Goodwin, Program Analyst for the California Friday Night Live Partnership, spoke of the pain she and her family felt when she learned her daughter 20 -year-old Casey Goodwin was killed by a drunk driver in 2003.

Jones’s objective was to get all of the students to sign “Casey’s Pledge,” a movement created by family and friends of Casey that would encourage teens to pledge to not drink and drive.

After the presentation students who signed the pledge received a rubber bracelet as a reminder of their promise to not get behind the wheel after drinking.

Full article here.

A teen at Camarillo High School went without a coffee at Starbucks so that she could donate $5 to her school’s Help Educate At-Risk Orphans club.With that java money, one African child will be fed three meals a day for 30 days, said Rita Neumeister, an English teacher and HERO club organizer.

Another girl donated money that she had received for her bat mitzvah. Many others bought burritos and T-shirts sold by HERO members to raise money for and awareness of the United Nations Association of the United States of America campaign, which assists orphans who lost parents to HIV/AIDS.

This is the first year that Camarillo High students have been involved in helping the African orphans. They began their mission by sending pencils engraved with the high school’s name. When photos came back with the children smiling and holding the pencils, the Camarillo students’ hearts opened even wider.

Next, the teens made rubber bracelets with the word HERO stamped on them. They sold 1,500 of the bracelets, raising $1,500 for UNA-USA. Again, realizing the difference that they made generated more enthusiasm.

“The money fed 350 kids three meals a day for two years and provided a medical person to visit them once a week,” Neumeister said.

After their efforts to help the orphans, the students learned that the organization U.S. Agency for International Development made a large donation to UNA-USA, with $19,400 of it earmarked with the HERO club’s name to show appreciation for what the Camarillo students were doing, Neumeister said.

“At first, we felt we’d bit off a lot more than we could chew, but that donation brought us up to another level,” Neumeister said.

“I was so impressed with this school,” said Susan Fox, HERO program manager for UNA-USA. “They are our first high school to get involved in HERO and have been our shining star, a successful model for other schools throughout the country.”

Fox contacted the school and asked if the students would be willing to focus on Namibia, where $2,000 would buy school supplies for 7,000 children for one year.

The HERO club got right to work, planning a Books for Burritos event where members sold burritos and T-shirts and collected books to create a library in Africa.

They sent about $2,100 to Namibia for school supplies, and more than 1,600 books with notes from each student describing why the books were special to them. Neumeister said the one-of-a-kind library includes the Box Car series, Dr. Seuss books, “The Giving Tree” and other titles that the Namibian children would not otherwise have had a chance to read.

“The school they are sponsoring in Namibia is really made of sticks and ropes. Their help is going to make a huge difference,” Fox said.

“I donated a book called ‘Dealing with Dragons’ because I like fantasy,” said Catherine Billings, 15. “Now that I know how such a little thing for me does so much for others, I think twice about spending money on myself.”

To increase students’ awareness of others around the world, Neumeister wants to lead a group trip to Africa. And other high schools and junior highs throughout the county have shown an interest in bringing the program to their schools, Neumeister said.

Passing on that awareness to other students is one of Neumeister’s goals for next year, along with having Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie come to the school to tell the students about Namibia, where the celebrity couple’s baby was born this month.

Fourth-graders walking through a Shreveport neighborhood are a sign of a new trend in physical education.

Prompted by increasing concerns about childhood obesity, as well as a federal requirement that school systems promote health and nutrition, Caddo school officials are creating a wellness policy.

Board members are expected to approve the policy without comment after a public hearing June 27. The proposed policy consolidates parts of a lunch program and physical education guidelines and adds goals for teaching health and promoting nutritious eating habits.

Elementary-age students typically attend PE once a week. Teachers are finding other ways to work exercise into the day to meet a requirement that children have at least 150 minutes per week of physical activity, said Karen Eason, principal at Shreve Island Elementary in Shreveport.

On Friday, Shreve Island students pelted each other with foam balls in a dodge ball pit, ran a race over miniature hurdles and jumped rope during the school’s Jump Rope for Heart fundraiser.

“A lot of teachers are incorporating activity with math and reading,” Eason said. “Last week fourth-graders walked around the neighborhood taking pictures, then came up with LEAP-like problems based on the pictures.”

Shreve Island’s PTA plans to put a walking track around the school playground by this fall.

“A lot of schools have running clubs. We’re thinking about that,” Eason said.

Walking, running and physical activity tied to lessons represent the new face of physical education, said Kaye Cochran, president-elect of the Louisiana Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.

Cochran, who just retired after teaching PE in Caddo Parish schools for 33 years, is working with the district’s physical education directors to pilot middle and high school programs that focus more on lifelong activity and fitness than team sports.

Tuesday, she and others with the state PE association handed out rubber wristbands bearing the exhortation, “No Child Left on Their Behinds!” to state legislators.

“I want people to bring fun and enthusiasm to PE,” Cochran said. “PE can be a dumping ground. I want to rise above that.”

Every year, students collect soda can “flip tops” for the benefit of the Ronald McDonald house in Boston. Every fall, the school organizes a food drive to supply Father Sweeney’s Food Pantry at St. Mary’s Parish in Plymouth. And, each year the school chooses one cause to support in a unique, school-wide service project. This year, the project chosen by the Sacred Heart Elementary School student body, “Project We Care,” was to benefit the men and women serving in Iraq.

Students in grades one through six put the finishing touches on Project We Care this week. Assembly lines of student-helpers filled goodie-bags with personal care products and special treats. School staff and parent volunteers shipped the goodies to American soldiers serving in Iraq and Kuwait.

The goal of the project, which ran from Advent through Lent, was to provide small comforts for soldiers away from home. Items included disposable razors, lip balm, eye drops, shampoo, Gold Bond foot powder, playing cards, Nerf footballs, fruit roll-ups, gum, packets of cocoa mix, Pop Tarts, and much more. Many of the items are not “standard government issue” or if they are, they run out quickly.

Students and parent volunteers solicited some items from manufacturers, and a number of fund-raisers provided money to purchase other items. Some funds came from the Student Council sale of “Support Our Troops” silicone bracelets. Some came from the proceeds of a “Bread & Broth” fast day. (During Lent, students donated $1 to Project We Care and went without their traditional lunch of sandwich, fruit and snacks. Instead, they ate only soup and a roll.) Some funds came from the sale of Mardi Gras beads and masks, which students were allowed to wear on a festive “no uniform day” on the eve of Lent. Also, each classroom was home to a piggy bank that collected dollars and cents that students earned doing extra chores at home.

In addition to providing much needed items for the soldiers, Project We Care provided Sacred Heart students many opportunities to reflect on the life of a soldier and to share of themselves. Each student sent a personal greeting at Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Easter. The “Support Our Troops” bracelets, in addition to being a successful fundraiser, served as a reminder to pray for soldiers far away from home. On Bread & Broth day, students had an opportunity to understand how little many people in the world eatevery day. And by giving up their small change and extra chore money, students learned how to do without an “extra” in order to provide for a young soldier’s need.

“We strive to provide experiences to our students that will enable them to lead and to interact with others in actively shaping the future of the Church and the global community,” said principal Sister Ann Therese. “Also, service to others teaches an understanding of, and concern for, those in our community who need our support.”

Earlier this year, the school sent 400 new t-shirts printed with the “We Care” logo to the soldiers in a transportation unit led by Col. Walter Juzukonis. Donnelly School Apparel (the Sacred Heart uniform supplier) donated the shirts, and Sacred Heart parent Ruth Finn, owner of Special Tees in Plymouth, donated the screen printing. Students have also been sending letters to the soldiers as individuals and as classes, via mail and email.

About 40 students are regular penpals with soldiers in Col. Juzukonis’ group. The soldiers write about what they are doing in Iraq and Kuwait and about the families and pets they miss at home. “Thank you for thinking of us and taking the time to write,” wrote one soldier. “I am proud to protect America and help to keep you safe.”

In April, Colonel Juzukonis’ soldiers sent the students a gift of surplus Army hats, and a trophy from Sgt. Jose Monzon that read “Operation Iraqi Freedom.” The soldiers also sent a number of questions for the students. They wanted to know how Project We Care came about, and what the students are learning from it. Sgt. Crystal Rothermel wanted to know what impact corresponding with and sending gifts to the soldiers had on the students.

Community service is an integral part of the Sacred Heart experience. Last year, the school raised enough money for Heifer International to provide two arks of livestock and other agricultural aid to Indonesian tsunami victims. The previous year, the school-wide service project benefited Operation Smile, an organization that provides doctors and medical supplies to repair cleft palate and other facial deformities.

Meth has a way of hijacking a user’s personality, says Attorney General Rob McKenna. The drug is so addictive and causes so much long-term damage that it is best if young people never try it.

McKenna brought this message Wednesday to Olympic High School in his first presentation in Kitsap County. Methamphetamine has become the biggest law enforcement, social welfare and environmental problem in the state, he said, and urged students to partner with the community and look for ways to alleviate the drug use locally.

“We hope to give you information that will persuade you to never ever go near this stuff,” McKenna told the assembled students.

He listed items where the chemicals used for cooking meth are found — batteries, Drano, gasoline, etc. And cooking up the drug itself is cancer-causing.

Meth’s social welfare effects ripple through the child dependency proceedings McKenna’s office handles. There has been a 60 percent increase in foster care cases in the last 10 years, six to 10 times the growth rate of the general population, he said.

It wasn’t the statistics that made the most impression on the students.

“I knew drugs could mess you up, but I didn’t know they could put big holes in your brain just from two years’ (use),” senior Amy Rainwater said.

One of the videos McKenna showed students was an MTV story about a 22-year old ecstasy user, who gradually incurred sleeping problems and paranoia. A CAT scan her doctor ordered showed gaps in her brain in the memory and association areas. Her brain was that of a person in her 60s or 70s who had suffered multiple little strokes.

“Ecstasy is the chemical cousin of methamphetamine,” McKenna told students.

Ecstasy and meth both cause long-term damage to the brain, skin and central nervous system, all in addition to the chemicals’ cancer-causing properties.

There are more female than male users, perhaps because of meth’s weight-loss side effect, McKenna said.

Rainwater and her sister Sasha, a sophomore, had no problem believing that statistic. They said they knew a girl who started using meth three months ago and lost a lot of weight, but looked unhealthy. Now they don’t see their acquaintance at school very often.

After the first of two presentations Amy and Sasha wore “Don’t Meth Around” red rubber bracelets, which McKenna’s assistants distributed.

The sisters were most impressed with the story of Jamie Crawford of Yakima, a 21-year-old recovering meth addict.

Clean and sober for two years, Crawford served three months in a county jail, five months on house arrest and is still serving her five-year probation.

It was the prosecutor of her case who asked Crawford to share her story with various law enforcement groups. Then she started talking to students and OHS marked her fifth school visit with McKenna.

“If you can save the life of one child, it’s worth it to me,” Crawford said. “If someone had done this when I was in high school, it could have made a difference in my story.”

Her story, as she told the students, started when she was 15 and tried meth in the summer before her junior year of high school.

“Before I knew it, my class was graduating and I wasn’t there,” she said.

She barely completed her GED recently and is starting college, she added.

Crawford said when she was 18, she was at a friend’s house with other meth users and a 7-year-old boy. They all witnessed a murder and took off, jumping fences and dragging the child along with them.

She was arrested shortly afterwards.

“I had a good lawyer, so I got a slap on the wrist,” Crawford said.

Within a month, though, she was back using meth.

In a second arrest, in June 2004, Crawford was caught red-handed with 282 pieces of stolen mail and $150,000 in cash and checks.

She had a friend’s 8-month-old baby and 4-year-old child with her. The baby used to cry almost constantly and later Crawford and her friend learned that while they were getting high on meth, the baby was too. It cried during withdrawals.

She never thought becoming a meth addict would happen to her, Crawford said. Sitting through the attorney general’s presentation most students probably thought the same thing, she added.

“Hopefully you learned something from (the presentation) that will help you say no to it,” she told students.

McKenna said he hopes to come back to Kitsap to visit more schools. He has given more than 20 similar presentations throughout the state as part of the “Operation: Allied Against Meth” program McKenna launched in May 2005. A three-part strategy focuses on coordinating law enforcement efforts, working with community anti-meth action groups and educating youth.

“We’re spending a third of our time on the outreach component because it’s such an addictive drug,” McKenna said. “It’s much better for people never to try it.”

Staff and students from Port Charlotte High School have united to form a sort of human cocoon around Stefanie Flowers, an English teacher.The teacher found out she has advanced breast cancer in April. The bubbly petite woman was not shocked about the diagnosis — she dreamed she had the disease on March 17.

Dreams and premonitions aside, Flowers, 46, never imagined she would be facing such a medical monster.

“It’s a very surreal experience,” she said.

For the past month, Flowers has been struggling to face the harsh reality of having cancer.

She endures a schedule of nauseating chemotherapy sessions and bouts of fatigue and pain in her bones. She said it has been depressing watching her once abundant hair shed off her head and down the shower drain. She limited her hair loss by snipping off her nearly foot-long braid and donating it to Locks of Love. The organization provides hair for children with long-term medical hair loss.

What rattles the feisty, good-natured teacher most is her young children’s fear. Her daughters, 4 and 11, are very frightened about Flowers’ health.

Still, a sense of optimism helps keep Flowers going.

“I feel certain that I am going to get better,” she said. “I don’t have any options — I have children.”

Flowers biggest source of strength lies within her family, PCHS staff and her students.

Since Flowers announced her condition at school, help and support have been flooding in. Teachers offered to make dinners for Flowers and her family and staff have pooled their resources to compensate for lost wages.

As a show of love and solidarity from her students and staff, graduating seniors, colleagues and administrative staff wore pink rubber bracelets symbolizing the fight against breast cancer on their wrists at the graduation ceremony Wednesday evening.

Principal Steve Dionisio told the packed Lee County Civic Arena about the school’s support for Flowers and her fight.

“There’s definitely something to being a Pirate,” Flowers said. “I am so uplifted by the support.”

The school’s mascot is the Pirates.

Flowers has used her condition to inspire her students to not give up. During the last month of school, she joked with her students that if she could come to class with cancer they could do their work.

“She’s stronger than a lot of people I see,” said graduate Fitz Knights. “A lot of people would call it quits.”

Fellow classmate and recent graduate Valdeah Vincent agreed.

“You got to keep pushing it,” he said. “That’s my teacher.”

But some of Flowers’ greatest support in school comes from recent graduate Travis Ehrnsberger. The 18-year-old knows all too well what it’s like to have cancer. Diagnosed with malignant tumors in his chest and stomach cavity, Ehrnsberger faced months of aggressive chemotherapy last year.

Though he is not yet in remission, he is doing well and ready to go on to the next leg of his life, which includes heading to Hillsborough Community College. He raises his shirt and points to a raised scar that looks like a long T on his chest. The surgery mark reminds him of the battle he still faces. Ehrnsberger is expecting more surgery in his back in the future.

In the meantime, the soft-spoken young man is lending his support to his beloved teacher. During a recent conversation between the two, Ehrnsberger told Flowers she will be fine. After a half-hour of chatting and laughing, Flowers, sporting a sky blue bandana on her hairless head, seemed more relaxed.

“It just feels comical that I am going through this,” she said with a nervous chuckle.

Jim Buley, a colleague in the English department, has been another rock for Flowers. Buley’s wife went through breast cancer too. Not only does he understand Flowers, but he can empathize with her husband’s fears.

Buley gets choked up when he thinks about his friend and colleague dealing with cancer.

“This really hurts me a lot,” he said in a gentle voice.

But the camaraderie and concern he has witnessed inside the school have touched Buley.

“It amazes me how good people can be,” he said.

 

 
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