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Hello Fundraiser!

July 16, 2010

As a former American high school student….who was in many a music program..I’ve participated in quite a few fundraisers in my life. In general, I’ve done quite a few just due to being a student in America where bake sales and gift wrap boxes are the norm. I always considered the whole task pretty demanding since watching cartoons really took the priority as a kid. But the past week has pretty much taught me that participaing in a fundraiser at school is nothing compared to proposing, organizing, prepping for and executing the very FIRST fundraiser at school.

When I first shared the idea with my teachers -selling something to earn money for our school’s Summer English Camp- I was called insane and flat out crazy. The amount of work would be daunting and due to the novelty of the idea to students, there was a possibility that it just wouldn’t take at all. So, as I was taught in my training in media buying, I just made an airtight proposal which included the costs, time estimates and even a graphic depicting what exactly would take place. I decided to sell something that my students would want but had never tried before – Jello gelatin. Jello, I explained to…well everyone, would be easy to make, cheap to buy, not terribly unhealthy, and a good taste of American culture for students.

Working with another Korean teacher, we somehow managed to get out a proposal with costs, reasons and everything out just a few days before the proposed date of the fundraiser. One day before (Tuesday) I got the go ahead.

Students did indeed use English to pick out their cups and ask for spoons. I even got some kids to write on my table.

Wednesday…I couldn’t tell you what else I did as so much time was given over to making Jello. For some reason, in my crazy head I didn’t think students would pay 1,000 won for plain jello (this turned out to be wrong), I decided to make layered, rainbow jello and laid out some fliers and posters depicting multicolored jello in see-through plastic cups. I was short on student volunteers but had an angel of a Korean teacher help me do everything from translating ads to prepping cups.

It looks chaotic because it is.

Everything was ready on Thursday after school, I had the cups ready, a decorated table and my rainbow apron on…and almost no one came…many students complained that the price was far too high.However, the students (and teachers) who did buy some, proclaimed the “jelly” to be fantastic and too cheap. I sold 55 and put the rest away for lunchtime today, right before which, I had made an announcement about selling the” jelly” in front of the school. After that, things start to blur together…somewhere between then and now I sold out all my cups at lunchtime to hundreds of students crowding frantically around my tiny table. I was supposed to sell 50 at lunch and 50 after school. At lunch, we sold out. So I found some boxes that I thought I’d never use and cooked up a few more cups before the last bell rang. Sold those as soon as they were laid out.

I tried to get a queue to form but too many students wanted to see what exactly I was selling. Students and many teachers were convinced that I was selling soap.

Anyway, I’d call the whole event stressful but entirely successful. Oh and did I mention that I still have classes to teach? One of which involved serving fruit, designing/prepping for flower crafts, and a limbo contest for a luau today.

I. am. beat.

Update: It’s now the next week…many days after I’m supposed to be finished but I just sold more cups to the teachers who were absent on the big days of the sale. And since the kids bought em all up so fast, one teacher wants to buy a box worth for her homeroom students. It was funny trying to explain to students that I couldn’t just sell the Jello everyday because fundraisers just don’t work like that. If I didn’t work within a certain time period, I think I’d have to file as a nonprofit and open up a business. But hey whatever. Now the summer camp kids get to decorate their own aprons. and make their own PB&Js. I can’t really complain..

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