The high school ambassador program for the Genesis Foundation is a very rewarding, positive experience. Leading this program requires a dedicated candidate, however, it builds strong leadership skills as well as benefitting the lives of many local children with birth defects. Work setting up fundraisers, contacting local businesses, holding meetings, etc. is necessary to perform the job but is flexible and easy to work into hectic schedules. I have run a club to raise money for the Genesis Foundation at my school all year and have had a blast taking on the leadership role, meeting new people, and making an impact on the community. It feels truly special to be able to participate in brightening the day of children struggling with genetic disorders.
To get started: I first had to create a Mission Statement for my club (see below). Then I had to get permission from my principal to start a new club. My school required me to find a teacher to advise the club. I also set up a bank account using the school’s tax id code. If your school has an activity fair at freshmen orientation, make sure you get a booth there, it is a great way to attract new, young members. At the first meeting, we elected club officers (see list below). We held meetings about twice a month that were generally brief and geared to getting people to sign up to help with events. People like to be involved with clubs, but don’t always want to do any real work. I would recommend instituting some sort of points system where members need to do a certain amount of work for the club to remain in it.
At the first meeting, club members can brainstorm about what to name the club and what kind of events to run. I found bake sales to be extremely easy to run and fairly profitable, try theme bakes sales around holidays. Yard sales are also profitable, but a large amount of work. I only attempted to run one “restaurant night” in which a local fast-food franchise agreed to give me 10% of the profit for anyone who brought in coupons that I had to print. I found it to be fairly unprofitable, only making 26 dollars and requiring a lot of work. However, I think it raised awareness of the Genesis Foundation and perhaps a different restaurant would be willing to give a larger portion of the profits. Other ideas that require more planning and permission from the school or town could include Fun Runs or sporting event (softball, kickball, etc.) Can drives, yard clean-ups. Consider approaching a local amusement business like a mini-golf or bowling alley about getting a group discount and selling tickets to students and/or families. If several schools start clubs – then “competitive” events between schools to see who can raise the most money are possible.
I found that a good way to advertise our events, especially larger events that the whole town could participate in, was to use the communication system in place for the school system: our town uses a Virtual Backpack that goes to all school families. Local newspapers and blogs like Patch advertise local events free. If you can organize a large event like a sports tournament or community fun run – you could approach local businesses for sponsorship in exchange for advertising that their business is supporting you.
Overall, this program is ideal for anyone who enjoys social activities, developing leadership skills, and making a meaningful impact of the lives of children who need it. All in all my experience running this club was pleasant and felt meaningful. I would highly recommend starting one at your own school.
Mission Statement: Our mission is to get students, and the community involved in raising awareness and funds for the Genesis Foundation For Children.
Club Officers: President- Leads everything, delegates jobs to other members in the club, keeps members interested, finalizes fundraiser ideas. Vice President- helps the President with his tasks. Secretary- updates social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc), sends emails to club members informing them of upcoming volunteer opportunities, writes press releases. Treasurer- sets up and has access to the bank account, keeps track of money and makes sure spending is minimal. Event planners- Every fundraiser has 2-4 event planners who are the leaders for the project. They get the necessary permission to run the event, organize volunteers, and lead any other tasks associated with the event.