Initiating a Givology chapter, be it on a high school campus or a larger-scale city setting, may seem daunting. However, starting a chapter is one of the best ways to spread Givology's mission of making quality education accessible for children worldwide. Some of the responsibilities - and joys - that being actively involved with a chapter entails include organizing fundraisers for grassroots education projects, blogging about the indispensability of education, and promoting Givology's mission to neighboring schools and missions.
Since its inception five years ago, Givology has witnessed the successful launch of many chapters, whether in Hong Kong, South Korea or Pennsylvania. This past month, the High Tech High School (Lincroft, NJ) chapter held its first fundraiser, a bake sale. I had the pleasure of interviewing Meichin Ong, a sophomore who doubles as secretary and treasurer of the High Tech chapter, about her part in Givology and what the chapter is working on.
[i]Meichin Ong (left) with Sitian Zhang (right), executive members of the High Tech Givology chapter [/i]
[b]1. [/b][b]What inspires you about Givology and its mission?[/b]
I often forget how lucky I am to have such a good education. It’s easy to take things like pencils, desks, and textbooks for granted when I have them everyday. I think that this applies to others as well. For the most part, most of us live in a happy oblivion. However, I also think that it’s important to be grateful for the little things we have, and I think that education is extremely important. That’s why Givology inspires me. Being a part of a Givology chapter reminds me that there are children without access to basic school supplies or a proper education. It’s inspiring that people would take the time to run an organization and help people gain a quality education.
[b]2. [/b][b]Can you tell me a bit about the High Tech High School Givology chapter?[/b]
Our Givology chapter has about 17 members, myself included. SiTian [Zhang] is our president, Rangoli is our vice president, and I am treasurer and secretary. This chapter started out as a group of friends so we always help each other out. This means that our roles often overlap. For example, if SiTian has three tests and we have a bake sale coming up, the rest of us will step in and help her out. We started with about ten people over the summer, but we have grown to include more of the High Tech student body.
[b]3. [/b][b]What fundraising activities and events has your chapter initiated?[/b]
This year, we have held two bake sales. Both were very successful, and we’ve gained new members because of the two bake sales. We plan to hold a few larger fundraising activities next year.
[b]4. [/b][b]Can you tell me a bit about your successful bake sale?[/b]
Since we had never had a bake sale before, our first bake sale was very exciting. People were so enthusiastic and brought in so much food that we were afraid we weren’t going to sell it all, but we did. It was also exciting because we were introducing people to Givology for the first time and we weren’t sure how they would react. For anyone holding their first fundraiser, I can say that being well prepared helped a lot. You can never go wrong with having Sharpies, Post-its for writing prices, and coins and dollar bills for change when planning a bake sale.
[b]5. [/b][b]How did you go about introducing Givology to the student body? What challenges have you faced?[/b]
When we had our bake sale, I made a sign saying “Givology chapter bake sale” with the Givology logo on the bottom. When people came up to the table to buy something, they would ask what Givology was and we were able to explain. At first, we struggled to find a clear and concise way to explain Givology’s mission. We knew we only had a few seconds to capture someone’s attention so we didn’t want to go into a long explanation. When we finally did come up with a one sentence long explanation, it sounded too rehearsed and complicated. So, we finally settled on a few different ways of explaining Givology using simple wording. We try to be as spontaneous and conversational as possible when telling people about Givology.
[b]6. [/b][b]What is your advice for people who are interested in starting chapters in their area or high school?[/b]
For people starting chapters in their high school, our chapter is classified as a club and we are an offshoot of a larger charity club. We are an offshoot because we do not have our own advisor, but we have been told that if we do find our own advisor, we have enough people to be our own club next year. I would suggest that people check with their school and find out what is required for starting a chapter. Be sure to check the rules and regulations and get all the paperwork done.
[b]7. [/b][b]What are your hopes for Givology’s future? [/b]
In the future, I hope that we can continue to raise money for Givology and gain more members. It’s also important to continue to inform people about Givology, its mission, and the state of education in other countries. I think it would be wonderful if Givology continued even after we left. Right now our club consists of rising juniors and one rising senior.
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