Season of service

Tis the season to be giving. With Thanksgiving behind us and the winter holiday season upon us, we see a trend developing as more  of the smaller service clubs at SAS take full advantage of the generous mood the champagne and wine have put our parents in.

Students are familiar with big service clubs such as Gawad Kalinga, Caring for Cambodia, and Room to Read and the successful fundraisers they organize and plan every year. But as several of the smaller service clubs have proven to us, with the a little sweat and drive, it’s possible for them to plan one as well.

Members of SHOFCO at the fundraising dinner. Photo by Kelly Chung

According to Service Council, on average, 10-15 clubs apply to become service clubs every year, many of them starting very small or even from scratch. In order to stand out among the 70 other service clubs already in existence, they realized they had to try something different.

By stepping out of their comfort zones of bake sales and selling candy grams outside the booster booth, they’re finding ways to reach a bigger audience and maximize the impact they can make.

President of SHOFCO (Shining Hope for Communities), junior Danielle Wait said, “Only so much of a difference can be made by food fest, bake sales, homecoming, etc. We needed a way to make sufficient change in Kibera, fast.”

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Officer Danielle Wait giving a presentation about SHOFCOs programs. Photo by Kelly Chung

Their solution: a major fundraising dinner for SAS parents. As a smaller club, every responsibility and task that comes with planning an event falls on the members. With less manpower to split the work up, students find themselves developing the resources and organization skills to pull it all off.

“We did everything from writing invites and sending them out to dealing with the catering and the tent people. Running through the budget and trying to fit everything in while spending as little money as we could to renting equipment and doing all the pick-ups while organizing members into roles to make sure the dinner went smoothly,” said junior Chris Chan, officer of SHOFCO.

Despite a few challenges, the club still managed to host a very successful event.

“We are one of the smallest clubs at SAS. Even with about only 12 active members, we were still able to raise $30,000,” Wait said.

As these service clubs have grown, so have their ambitions. READ (Rural Education and Development) Bhutan, who raised $60,000 last year, increased their goal to $100,000 for this school year. Through their recent fundraising event, a cocktail party fundraiser for adults interested in their cause, they have already exceeded this target.

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READ Bhutan members learning serving techniques. Photo by Anouk Hungate

No doubt there are many clubs that serve the purpose of filling resumes, but there are students becoming more involved with their clubs through their passion and a commitment to making a difference. As they find ways to accomplish the goals they continue to set, they build stronger connections with the causes they support.

Junior Hugo Rubin, an officer of READ Bhutan, said, “READ for me is not just a club or an organization, it’s a solution. It doesn’t just take people out of the poverty cycle, but it teaches them how to take themselves out of the poverty cycle.”

These fundraising events are beneficial for both the organizations and the students that support them. While the organizations gain funds and awareness from these events, students find themselves learning new organization and social skills, as well as the importance of pursuing what you’re passionate about.

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Members of READ Bhutan on the night of their fundraising event. Photo by Anouk Hungate

Junior Spencer Brown said, “I gained leadership experience by coordinating with my fellow officers and important members of the READ Organization. On the event day every officer lead a group of students as we served food to our guests. There was a great amount of responsibility for each club member to set a good example for the READ Bhutan organization that we represent.”

Sophomore Aime Fukada also learned that fundraising involves more than money. “I think that I really learned how to have mature conversations with adults,” she said. “You really need to understand and care about what you are raising money for. If you don’t care, it will be shown to the people you are talking to and that will turn them off.”

Want to learn more about these clubs and keep up with their progress? Check out the links below:

READ Bhutan:

https://www.classy.org/fundraise?fcid=368476
http://www.readglobal.org/our-work/read-bhutan

SHOFCO:

http://www.shofco.org/

 

Author: Hanna Chuang

Hanna Chuang is a junior and the Singapore Section Editor. Although she’s been at SAS since kindergarten, this is her first year as a member of The Eye staff. In her time outside of school, Hanna enjoys swimming, listening to music, and blowing bubbles. She can be contacted at chuang18913@sas.edu.sg.

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