As the historian of my school's TRI-M (Modern Music Masters) Music Honor Society, my job also doubles as the publicity chairperson. I am responsible for recording our service projects, designing projects, and applying to the Chapter of the Year award. The service project is one of the biggest events my TRI-M chapter does in the year.
Our service project last April was to raise money to purchase hairbrushes, one of the immediate needs, for our local Wichita's Children's Home, the first Wichita orphanage.
The Wichita's Children's Home was founded in 1888 and has ever since been offering emergency residential care for homeless children. When I heard we were going to raise money for them, I immediately told my mom I wanted to go around town to local businesses and community members I knew. The Wichita's Children's Home is a place that holds a special spot in my heart because I feel like it is so unfair in the world how so many things are wasted when there are places like orphanages where children not only do not have the privilege to have their own room, but do not even have the PRIVILEGE of having PARENTS, clothes, or even a home. These are all things that every child should have in life, and I wanted to help as much as I could to let them feel like they are loved and thought of, and not just thrown in an orphanage.
I planned to tell the community members about this cause and to personally ask for donations. I knew that as a member of a prestigious honor society, I had a responsibility to be an active member. I set a goal for myself to raise $200. I had no idea how supportive the community would be, and I did not want to set an absurd goal just to be disappointed, especially since this was my first time really going out in the community to ask for donations. To start off, I asked my relatives and they donated $90. Then, I went to some friends and was donated $30. Finally, I went to my doctor's office, two music/instrumental stores, and a few other local businesses. After those visits, I was donated a whopping $325, leading up to the grand total of $445, far from anything disappointing! It took me about a week and a half to finish going around town due to business hours clashing with school hours. After counting the money, I was so happy that not only did I reach my goal, but I surpassed it by $245!
After getting the donations, I made a spreadsheet that organized the donors by name, the amount, and whether they donated cash or a check. Once the spreadsheet was finished, I made sure to create two areas where my school principal and TRI-M chapter adviser could sign off on my hard work. I went to school the next day, very excited, and told my principal about my part in the service project; he then signed my paper and to make it official, even stamped it with the school information. When I got to orchestra, I showed my chapter adviser and he also signed my paper. In the end, our chapter raised over $500 and was able to purchase more than 300 hairbrushes for the children!
Although the turnout was amazing, there were a few challenges I faced during this process. One challenge I faced was rejection. I went to multiple businesses and of course, I was rejected at some point. I did not throw a fit because of the rejection; rather, I thought about if I were in those business' shoes. I have one big rule I like to live life by, and it is to not judge something until I hear both sides of the story. The people who rejected me could just be greedy, but they could also be going through a tough financial time and cannot afford to donate any money. When I think of things that way, I am able to empathize more and not automatically think that someone is just plain greedy. It adds a more positive vibe to my life. Another challenge I faced was time. During the fundraiser, I had not gotten a license yet, so I was not able to drive myself. I had to ask my parents for a ride, but their work times + my school times + business hours did not always agree with each other. To fix this problem, I had to plan ahead which businesses and what times I'd go to in a day.
The impact that this fundraising left on my community is quite remarkable. Not only was I able to raise awareness for people in need in my community to the local businesses and members, but I was also able to help donate items that the Children's Home specifically needed. Raising awareness of these local issues is an important step to help these situations. Many people are so unaware of the local news that sometimes they seem careless. I think informing people is the best, and nicest way to let them know. Hairbrushes might not seem like a big issue, but even something like this could change someone's life and make them happy. This hairbrush drive definitely positively impacted not only the Wichita's Children's Home but my community as a whole!
Submitted by: Hoang Vy Le - Northeast Magnet High School