Week 8: The Charities

Yesterday the main street philanthropy class and I had the pleasure of visiting each and every organization that we were donating to. We started bright and early, leaving school at 9 a.m from school. First we visited The Quantum House. We started by enjoying a nice breakfast and listening to the formation of the organization from the leader. We then were led on a tour throughout the whole facility. The most touching moment was listening to both the patient and mother of the patient. The girl was suffering from a birth defect and it was truly touching listening to both of their stories. Next we visited Operation Troop Support, where we met a Vietnam veteran. We then were led throughout his house that they built for him, because he was “homeless”. They have plans to remodel the house next to him, for family and friends to visit him. This organization seems like it really cares about Veterans re-entering into society. Next we visited Scripps Research facility. I didn’t realize how massive the facility was, and that it contained a graduate school. We started the tour by visiting a small MRI room, then continued on throughout the facility. The biologists and chemists are separated in buildings but still collaborate on projects and drugs. We ended the tour with the presenting of the check. Next we visited Palm Beach County Food Bank, where we traveled through what seemed like Antarctica. The freezers were so cold it made the 40 degree coolers seem hot. After receiving a chilling tour from the director we ended the visit with a pleasant lunch. The distribution of food is one of the largest I have ever seen by a food bank. Million pounds of food are distributed yearly. Finally we visited my own organization, Peggy Adams. We started the tour by seeing tiny kittens and cats. Next we continued on, to the dog section where we saw some loud barking furry friends. We ended the tour with the presenting of the check. I truly think my group and I made a smart decision in donating to Peggy Adams.

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 9

I cannot believe that we are nearing the end of this 10 week long journey. I remember our first class like it was yesterday. These two strangers were in the classroom when I arrived. When the bell rang they started talking to us about philanthropy, what is is, how it works, and so much more. Then they got into the details, explained how we would be raising money for an organization, how there was an initial donor, and how at the end of this journey our team would be presenting the organization of our choice with one of those huge checks you always see in pictures. I remember thinking to myself “That is so awesome! I cannot wait for that day.” I remember running home after our first class, so excited to tell my mom about the journey we were about to embark upon and of course the part with the huge check!

As the classes progressed we learned so much about what philanthropy is. We learned how to be a philanthropist, how to read 990 forms to see if an organization is able to function financially and so much more. It was very fascinating. Everything I learned during our classes will be useful once I enter the real world. With these past nine weeks behind us, those two strangers who appeared in class on day one are no longer strangers, they are mentors. They have taught me how to truly have an impact on my community. They are making a difference in our world.

Which brings me to what we did today. Today was absolutely amazing. When we left school this morning I really was not sure what to expect. When we arrived at the Quantum House, the volunteers were so welcoming. There eyes were so bright and you could feel their excitement and appreciation. Allowing us to hear from a family staying at the house was one of things that stood out to me the most from this day. Hearing there story made me realize that what the Quantum House is doing is changing the lives of people receiving serious medical care in our area. Hearing this story really made me feel sincere in our option to donate our money to them. They truly our a working example of our teams mission.

TCzPR3UuVdvWngYPs62U-aNO2ZoEoxrqkpLBG7wGkvs

As we moved onto the other sites it was so fascinating to my eyes. I was never aware of all the people in our community who volunteer so generously. There is such a variety of organization, working to achieve different goals, but all with the same mission. Every single one of these organizations is here to help people. Most often, these organizations do not know the people the are serving, but they serve out of the kindness of their hearts, which is pretty amazing.

Seeing the final dollar amounts almost blew me away. I still remember hearing that we had to raise $300 on day 1. That seemed so difficult to me because I had never experienced anything like this before. Seeing the huge check with the total amount raised was amazing. I cannot believe that we donated over $3ooo.

All in all, I could not have been more happy with the experience I had with this course. I believe that I learned so much information that I will be able to use in my life. I am so thrilled that I got to be one of the guinea pigs for the first Main Street Philanthropy course at Oxbridge.

Visiting the Charities

This week, we all had the privilege to visit five different charities, which would go on to become the recipients of our donations. The first stop in the morning was the Quantum House. It was great to see and hear all about what happens inside the house, as well as getting to meet some patients who stay in the home. Next, we visited Capt. Terpin of Operation Troop Support. My group had decided to give to this foundation because we could tell they loved to give back, and that is what we saw today as they built a home for a former soldier in Vietnam. Next, we went to visit the Scripps research facilities. It was interesting to see the labs where they did there research. Soon after seeing Scripps, we went on to go see the Palm Beach County Food Bank. I was amazed at how much food they had there, but more importantly, I was impressed by how much the food they donate helps the community. Lastly, we went to visit Peggy Adams. It was a great tour and they had some cool animals there, such as Boris. All in all a great day.

Week 9 experience

Today was probably the most exciting and adventurous day of Main Street Philanthropy- our class had the opportunity to visit the organizations we chose to donate to.*

*Usually, when we arrived at the place or organization, the organization representatives would introduce themselves and what they do, then we’d take a tour, and finally present the BIG check. (I mean a gigantic check, like the ones used for Publisher’s Clearing House.)

First off, we stopped by the Quantum House (my group, Healing HeARTs). They generously provided us breakfast and we were quickly on our way for a tour around the House. During the tour, our class even got a chance to see an empty room. From what that room looked like, it looks a lot like a hotel room (The Breakers donated some main supplies for the rooms). The class also heard a story from one of the families that was staying at the Quantum House. Haley explained a little about our team and we presented the check ($1017.16) to the Quantum House before we were off again to our next place…

Team OVO (Michael, Ward, and George) chose Palm Beach Troop Support, but instead of stopping at their headquarters, we stopped by Lake Park to a Vietnam Veteran’s house that they were rebuilding for him. We learned a little about what they do, and toured two of the buildings on the property. It’s awesome what the organization is doing for veterans to help them after what they’ve done to serve our country. After Team OVO presented the check, onto organization #3, Scripps.

The Scripps Research Institute was chosen by Team Cure for Life (Fred, Charlotte, and Vincent). I’ve always wanted to visit Scripps since I’ve heard so much about the Florida location opening in 2009. Their facilities= WOW. Very impressive. Not only does Scripps do research on-site, but they also do internships and it’s a graduate research school. So they’re also preparing the scientists of the future while researching today. We toured a little of the chemistry building, and then Team Cure for Life presented them with the check. Off again to the next organization, Palm Beach County Food Bank.

Team Hungry to Help (Alexandra, Tova, Connor, Sam, and David) chose the county’s food bank, Palm Beach County Food Bank in Lantana. The class saw a short video the organization made to spread the word about hunger, and then we were taken on a tour. We started in the administrative wing, and then went through the fridge and freezer (chilly!). The fridge had many bags of potatoes (it’s harvesting season) and a wide variety of foods.Before and after the tour, I had noticed how much distributing was going on around us. Trucks and vans were completely full of perishable goods that were going to be distributed at churches and smaller organizations. I do have to applaude on the hunger team for donating the largest amount, almost $2,000!

Four down, one to go…

Our last stop was Peggy Adams Rescue League, which is right across from Oxbridge! It was chosen by Team Cause for Paws (Nick, Tahira, and Evan). As soon as we walked into the doors, we saw numerous kittens by the window!  Sooo cute!  Then, onto the tour. We started with the cats, to the large dogs, and then to the small dogs. I noticed from the papers they had on the dog cages that some had been staying for almost six months, while others have for a few weeks, but fortunately Peggy Adams is a no-kill shelter. At the end, we received some goodie bags, which was really sweet of them to do. Then Team Cause for Paws presented the check and we arrived back at school.

 

Overall, an extremely productive day.

In conclusion, I think all five teams chose the perfect non-profit organizations to donate to- they are all great at what they do.