Blog Post 9: The Journey to Charities

Today, our 9th class, was one unlike any class I’ve ever taken in any subject, grade or school ever in all of history. At 8:45 A.M. (ish) our entire class (sadly, minus Tahira, Vincent and Evan ((Evan would join us later in his own car))) loaded onto a school bus and we began a journey that would surprise and inspire us.

Our first stop was my team’s chosen charity – The Quantum House. Healing Hearts chose the Quantum House for many reasons. Quantitatively, though the house runs entirely on donations, we know based on their quality that those donations aren’t going to stop any time soon. The work that the Quantum House does for families in need is outstanding and awe-inspiring. Not only did we get to hear from the Executive Director of the house, we also got to hear from a mother and daughter that are staying at the house. Their stories about what they had gone through and how the house had helped them only made us more happy that we had chosen the Quantum House for our donation. The picture won’t load, but the check presentation was amazing and fun. The looks on their faces when we presented our donation ($1,017.16) was extremely gratifying. The hard work we put into our fundraisers felt worth it.

Next, we went to see Operation Troop Support. With them, we met a Vietnam veteran and the OTS workers who helped get him a new home to live in, and were rebuilding the home he was living in before. Because the veteran has disabilities  he may not be able to live in his new mobile home, adjacent to his old property, alone forever. So, OTS is rebuilding his old home so that in the future, his family members can be near him with him still being able to live in his own home.

After this, we went to see Scripps Medical Center. Scripps was BEAUTIFUL. The campus was amazing and the tour of all the medical equipment, laboratories and research was extremely cool. The workers (our tour guides) were extremely kind and interesting! They even offered (PAID) summer internship opportunities to any of us who were interested. Team Cure for Life then presented their check. This was, to my surprise, one of my favorite parts of the trip.

Next, we went to the Palm Beach County Food Bank. Here, we watched an informative video on the real problem that hunger is in Palm Beach County. After that, we got to go on a tour of the premises and even got to go into the giant warehouse-sized refrigerator and freezer (30-40 degrees and below 0 degrees!) After that, we got to eat a delicious lunch and watch Team Hungry to Help present their check.

Finally, we went to Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League. Since we were running out of time, we only got to do a brief tour of the buildings, but we got to see many cats and dogs and also their surgical rooms and equipment. Team Cause for Paws presented their check and before we knew it, we were back at school.

Overall, this field trip was something that I believe every student – or every person – should experience during their lives. The feeling of seeing someone who is passionate about helping people get happy or excited about YOU helping THEM is a truly gratifying experience that I will remember forever.

Thank you Ms. Denison, Ms. Asplundh-Smith and Main Street Philanthropy for this opportunity.

I can’t believe we’re almost done.

Blog Week 8 (Pampered Chef Show @ The Quantum House!)

This past Sunday, Sophia and I went to the Quantum House and held a Pampered Chef show – a company that sells cooking products and tools. In these parties, the consultant shows off the cooking products by cooking with them. None of our customers (Aside from Ms. Lori, Ms. Allegra, and my mom) actually came to the show, but we had several online orders that pushed us over the amount of money we needed to reach our goal of $300. However, a lack of physically present customers did not stop the event from being a huge success.

The consultant (Ms. Karen Sims), Sophia, Ms. Lori, Ms. Allegra and myself had an amazing time cooking lunch for the families. We made barbecue meatballs, grilled cheese, chicken, strawberry salad, angel-food pineapple cakes and chocolate lava cake. Sophia, I have to say, is much more experienced with cooking than I am so she had an easier time than I did, but I enjoyed learning (sort of) how to cook, and definitely appreciate the difficulty of it more than I had before now. More rewarding than learning how to cook, though, was seeing the huge smiles on the faces of the children and adults in The Quantum House as they enjoyed our meals.It made the fact that they are the best choice we could’ve made for a charity even more solid in our groups choice of charity.

I have photos of the lava cake and our teams name up on the chalkboard, but they’re apparently too big for the program 🙁 Luckily, that is the only sad thing about this entire amazing experience.

(MAKE UP POSTS) Blog Week 6: Fundraising! Panels! Hooray!

During the most recent class, we had amazing panel members come in and tell us all about their organizations. The panel members were from the following nonprofit organizations: Peggy Adams Animal Rescue, The Quantum House, The Palm Beach County Food Bank and Scripps Medical Center. These representatives were absolutely outstanding – all of them were extremely passionate about their work, and shared stories with us about their organizations that put a lot of things into perspective for me. I definitely enjoyed this experience.

Our personal representative, Ms. Roberta from the Quantum House, was very passionate in the way she spoke about the Quantum House, and even referred to us as “her girls.” Her personality, passion and kindness reaffirmed my and my group’s certainty that the Quantum House was the charity for us.

As far as our fundraising, the PDQ fundraiser (as you already know) went amazingly. Lots of people, from school and from our out of school family and friends, turned up and between the portion of the commission and our personal raffles and 50/50, we raised around $200. We had a Pampered Chef show (spoiler alert again: this also turned out great) coming up to raise more money. At that point, we were (spoiler alert AGAIN: WE STILL ARE) extremely happy with where we stand as far as fundraising goes.

(Make Up Posts) Blog Week 5: Communication, Team Work and other fun!

This class was mostly catching up and seeing how everyone was doing, as it was our first meeting together since before spring break. After we all caught up and told each other how our groups were doing, we got down to work. We researched 990 forms for three organizations (Quantum House, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, and Miami Children’s Hospital) and plugged in the numbers into the various contributing formulas. Although Quantum House ended up being the riskiest of the three financially, the quality of work they did shone out to us, and they’re a local business that does work right in our own community, so we decided that they would be our focus.

Towards the end of class, all the groups had to have a reality check and discuss how we were working together. 100% of the groups said that communication between group members was pretty weak, but we, as a class and within our individual groups, decided to work harder on communicating our great ideas with each other.

After that, our group set up a fundraiser at PDQ, at which we would receive 10% of all commission during a set period of time (if the customers said they were with Oxbridge) and we also had fundraisers going on at the restaurant during our time slot. (Spoiler alert: this did really well).

(Make up posts) Blog Week 4: 990 Forms

Our group, Healing HeARTs, is focused on children’s medical care. Sarah made contact with the Quantum House, an organization that provides housing, food, and moral support to families during the long term medical treatment of their children. The Quantum House representatives were extremely interested in our group and our mission, and responded very positively. Palm Beach Children’s Hospital, another one of our original interests, never answered our phone call.

During the last class, we learned all about 990 forms and how difficult and complicated it can be to understand and manage the financial problems and information of any business, especially a nonprofit organization. However, with the help of our lovely, wonderful philanthropy teachers, we were able to learn how to understand and make sense of the 990 forms, which was an essentially important part of our decision of what charity we would come to choose. Understanding 990 forms not only gives you a businesses current standing, but it also helps you predict the businesses theoretical (and statistically proven) future. This is very helpful in the process of choosing a good charity to donate to – a charity that will use our money well and will help the most people with it.

We learned that the Quantum House is very stable and would be able to survive for more than a year with its current financial standing, which is very healthy for a small nonprofit. At this point, we had all but decided to choose the Quantum Houe as our charity.