The principals settled on “Spirit Week” a one-week fundraising extravaganza for two charity organizations. Each school's Student Council would be in charge of choosing an organization they would raise money for. From Friday through Friday, the schools would host events, go door to door, sell raffle tickets, and have bake sales to try to raise the most money for their respective charity. The winning school would be announced at the big homecoming game at the end of the week, and the checks would be presented to the recipients.
Eastside's first Spirit Week raised $2000.
Since Spirit Week was launched in 1981, Eastside's mission has evolved from competing for bragging rights to doing good. Their motto is, “strength through human understanding.” This evolution can be witnessed in the increase of dollars they have raised. In 2008, Spirit Week raised an astounding $224,575 in donations! Since 2009, Eastside has been raising between $100,000 and $160,000!
Although the student body raises the majority of the funds, parents, faculty, and the entire community offer support and get involved. To reach their hefty financial goals, the students jam-pack the week with fundraising events of every kind. Some of last year’s events offered a midnight movie, video game tournament, fashion show, Sadie Hawkins Dance, Powder Puff Football Game, Bachelor Auction & Dinner, Bonfire, and Teacher Talent Show.
If you read my last blog post, you’ll understand how close this is to IDS’ heart. I wrote about Nikkie and Brian Chadwick’s journey through their daughter, Adalyn’s, diagnosis with Pitt Hopkins Syndrome. They are part of IDS’ Respite Program and their story is extraordinary. We at IDS are thrilled that the Pitt Hopkins Foundation was chosen for Spirit Week.
“I think Eastside's students were moved by our children and the fact that this is such a small, young foundation,” explained Audrey. “I think the Council likes to choose smaller organizations that don’t have a lot of backing—they know how much we need their help.”
It seems plausible that the students prefer smaller charities. In years past, they have helped raise money for Angelman Syndrome, Prader-Willi Syndrome, and one year, just an individual family was chosen. However, even small foundations can have big supporters. In 2012, Eastside received a very special "thank you" from a dad whose son has Angelman Syndrome--Actor, Colin Farrell.
“The students put a lot of thought into their interview questions. It’s clear how much they truly care about where the money goes, and they are very proud of the results of their hard work, said Audrey. “I was so impressed by their thoughtfulness, compassion, and intelligence that I have invited some of the students to sit on our Board of Directors to give input as to where the money will go.”
And how does Audrey feel about the potential to raise $150,000 or more for the PHRF?
“That kind of money is half of our annual funds!” an exuberant Audrey proclaimed. “This money will be dedicated to finding treatments, and ultimately a cure. Words cannot express what this means.”
From high school antics to an entire town rallying together to champion for non-profit causes, Spirit Week has truly become what one community member described as, “Better than Christmas!”
If you would like to donate, or learn more about Spirit Week, visit http://www.ehsspiritweek.com/the-charity or find them on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ehsspiritweek
For more information about Pitt Hopkins Syndrome, please visit http://pitthopkins.org.
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