One of the greatest aspects of becoming involved in fundraising during high school is that, from an early age, students learn the importance of helping others in need. Many North Shore high schools allow extracurricular student groups to take the reigns when it comes to fundraising. The students end up getting their peers involved and, through their charity work, often get to see the direct impact their efforts have had in bettering other people’s lives. We spoke to students at New Trier High School and Regina Dominican High School to learn how they are making a difference.
As such a large school, New Trier offers an abundance of extracurricular activities, many of which are connected to charity work. Girls Club is a leadership organization for female students who participate in fundraising events to benefit the New Trier Scholarship Fund. The money raised is used to finance educational grants-in-aid for female students in the senior class. Senior girls apply, attend an interview and are selected based on financial need. The applicants and recipients are kept confidential from the board and its members.
New Trier senior Clare Rooney joined Girls Club as a freshman and was drawn to the club because of its various fundraisers and events.
“All of our fundraising efforts have an impact on our fellow female students’ future academic endeavors,” Rooney says. “In addition, this club is a fantastic way to get involved and get to know new people. Girls Club meets five days a week for 40 minutes, so the camaraderie in the club has fostered many of my closest friendships.”
The club’s biggest annual fundraiser is selling concessions at the home football and boys soccer games. Rooney says eight club members work each game, where they typically sell about 500 hot dogs, along with popcorn, nachos, pizza and drinks.
“We also hold fundraisers for Yankee Candle and Lettuce Entertain You gift cards,” she says. “Last year we raised a little over $30,000 to put toward girls’ scholarships.”
Many students learn about fundraising from their siblings. New Trier senior Jack Paschen became involved in Tri-Ship, essentially the male version of Girls Club, at the urging of his sister, who shared how much fun her friends were having in the club.
Since 1924, Tri-Ship has been giving college scholarships to New Trier senior boys. New Trier has become the biggest non-corporate donor to the Greater Chicago Food Depository, and it is Tri-Ship that heads the canned food drive each year. Even with the success of the canned food drive, Tri-Ship’s largest fundraiser is the holiday tree sale.
“Our secretary has the tough task of creating the tree schedule; he has to make sure we are shifting for the entire three weeks of sales, all while taking into account each of the 39 members’ individual schedules, so it really is a hard job,” explains Paschen. “We have signs all over the school encouraging people to come buy their trees from us, and we have our members tell their families and friends to come by the tree lot as well. Year after year we have successful tree sales that raise incredible amounts of money for the scholarships.”
Regina Dominican senior Linette Maliakal is vice president of her school’s National Honor Society. For the past three years, the school’s National Honor Society has hosted a Dance Marathon to raise money for different charities that have a special connection to the Regina Dominican community. Maliakal sees Dance Marathon as the perfect opportunity to get other students involved in fundraising.
“Teachers and students alike provide National Honor Society with suggestions for Dance Marathon’s chosen charity each year,” she says. “Last year, Dance Marathon was hosted for the Michael A. DeStefano Foundation, which brings assistance and comfort to those who have suffered traumatic brain injuries and their families. Our very own math teacher, Ms. Stenson, who is a part of the board, was the one who suggested it.”
The event is planned well in advance to give the students ample time to spread the word. Maliakal says the event is advertised via email, morning announcements and flyers posted around campus. She says the fundraiser has been a big success the past few years.
“Many students from Regina and other schools come out to support the charity and have a lot of fun in the process,” she says. “The money goes toward the families of the afflicted in helping pay for their medical costs. Knowing that the money we raised affects these families in the best way is the most satisfying feeling. Improving the lives of others while having a blast makes the experience all the more worthwhile.”
More from Make It Better: