A Senior Project that Became a Life Mission

When I was in high school, my classmates and I were each tasked with doing a Senior project that was centered around a community service event. We were given many different options to choose from, such as going to a nursing home, food shelf or your local middle school to volunteer. But whenever I participated in any of these activities I never felt like I was doing enough; I wanted to do something bigger such as building homes or raising a lot of money and donating it to a charity where I could also volunteer at. However, during this time I was a busy student-athlete with a lot on my plate and very little free time.

Nevertheless, I did not let this deter me.

As I was starting my junior year I started to think about what exactly I wanted to do for my Senior project and where I wanted to go. Luckily, a friend of my father’s, Dan, got in touch with my family and talked about the work he does with orphanages in Mexico, through his job. When I heard about his work I knew I needed to be a part of it! I contacted Dan and made a plan to raise money and go to one of the orphanages (El Rancho De Los Niños) in Mexico next summer. I planned on using the money I raised to restock their food supply, while I was there. Once the plan was made, I was then confronted with the task of raising money.

At first, this seemed like an impossible task. However, after focusing and allocating my time correctly, I reached out to my local gym who agreed to host a three-hour Spinathon. During this event, all participants had the option to engage in up to three different classes for ten dollars each! (We also provided bagels and cupcakes for post ride food sessions) During this time I took the opportunity to spread more awareness about the work I was doing and exactly where the participants' money was going; many donated more after hearing about the orphans. To spread the news about this event I created posters online and hung them up around my town. I also talked to my high school who let me participate in morning announcements and talk about my trip. In addition, to the Spinathon, I created more generic posters and hung them around my community as well to raise overall awareness about my trip. These posters had a link that allowed the viewers to go to my website where I was raising money and gave them the ability to learn even more about the orphanage I was going to and how to donate if they felt inclined!

By the end of my junior year, I was able to raise about four thousand dollars for El Rancho de Los Niños orphanage!

 This was much more than I had anticipated and with this money, we were able to restock their food supply and buy many other necessities such as repairs for their utilities. On top of this, we were able to bring all 70 kids to a water park for the day (that was my favorite part)! Although this was supposed to be just my Senior project, I have continued raising money for the orphanage for the past four years and I plan on growing this project and continuing hopefully the rest of my life. I hope my passion inspires you to also start a community service project that you have always wanted to do! 

HERE is a link to a video of my first trip to the orphanage! VIDEO!

By: Grace Slauterbeck

 

Edited by Dina John