In our youth, we are often asked what we want to be when we grow up. What things do we want to do when we grow up? What do we want to accomplish… when we grow up?
Jessica John, a recent high school graduate, decided she didn’t want to wait until she was grown up to have an impact. In the fall of her senior year, Jessica headed up a club that was tasked with helping a community, whether it be the school, their neighborhood, or a person in need.
“I asked if mine could be Honduras,” Jessica shared. She wanted to do something different, but didn’t know if supporting La Provdencia would fit the parameters.
“The more unique the better,” was her supervisor’s response.
With that green light, Jessica’s set up her first event: a school supplies drive. She and her committee members put a box in each of the school’s 75 classrooms simply labelled “La Providencia School Supplies Drive,” and waited to see what happened.
They received over 200 items, everything from backpacks to pencils to calculators to protractors to binders to 65 books.
Encouraged by her school’s response, Jessica decided to test what the school could raise if the students were given an incentive. And this time they were going to raise money.
In the final three weeks of the semester, Jessica’s committee distributed labelled coffee cans in that classrooms for a “loose change” drive. She was unsure how successful she would be. The school had been hosting “Pennies for Patients” for years and it never yielded much revenue. So Jessica’s committee offered an incentive: cupcakes for the winning class.
And it worked.
“I honestly expected to raise 50 dollars,” Jessica said. “We got 700.”
During these weeks, some teachers would bring back full cans and ask for another. The teachers got behind the cause, some offering extra credit to the students who donated the most.
“I think they liked that we were helping a school,” Jessica reflected.
The golf coach told his special ed students he would match whatever they raised. This small class pooled together 75 dollars. The winning class, over twice the size, raised 200.
Aside from the rewarding 689 dollars the school raised, Jessica was encouraged by the opportunities she had to share the name and mission of La Providencia. One Spanish teacher asked her to bring in pictures and share.
Jessica didn’t expect to be met with such fundraising success. If someone were to take up her cause next year, she doesn’t know if the school would deliver in a similar way. Perhaps the students were interested in the novelty of it. Perhaps they truly loved the cause. Whatever the reason, Jessica refused to be hindered by the fear or uncertainty of her reach as “just a student.”
“I just went for it,” she said. And she was greatly rewarded.