Gift of Giving Event–guest blogger Kate Veverka

Many of you are aware of the Gift of Giving event that took place in the BCCE on December 12th, as organized by the Harley Humanitarian Club. We are delighted to have Kate Veverka as our guest blogger to help us learn more about the concept behind the club as well as the details of the event.

“At the beginning of this year, Lindsey Arena, Shalonda Schickling, and I all had the same idea for an Upper School club. We thought that what the Upper School needed is a club where students who have a passion for helping others and raising awareness of the issues can get together and do just that. Thus, the Harley Humanitarian Club was created. Our mission is to not only directly help others through service, but to inform the community of the issues and organizations that are out there to help. We aim to get more people involved in community service and humanitarianism by spreading the joy of giving back. The passion for helping people is contagious.

Our first and most recent project was the Gift of Giving Event held in the Briggs Center on December 12, 2014. It started as an abstract idea that was raised in a club meeting, and I was happily surprised at how enthusiastic the members seemed to be about the concept. The goal was to have representatives from local organizations set up tables with information and materials, and Harley families could donate in the name of friends and family as a gift for the holidays while enjoying refreshments and music. We decided together how we wanted it to look, how we were going to run it, which charities to invite, and every other detail imaginable as a club. It was a very valuable experience getting to work out the logistics on our own. As students, it’s not often we get that kind of opportunity.

When we had a clear idea of what we were going to do, I met with the wonderful people in the Development Office to discuss getting the BCCE, space as we thought it would be very fitting for a Center for Civic Engagement. They were very helpful in giving advice about how to get the word out and how an event like this was usually run, but it was up to us to organize the event. We split into committees to get all the work done we had to do. We all used our personal connections to local organizations to ask reps to attend. With some, however, we approached by simply calling and explaining our idea. The reaction was very positive from all of the organizations, and we had seven representatives attend the event: Alternatives for Battered Women Rochester, Rochester Civic Garden Center, Horizons at Harley, The Alzheimer’s Association, Empowered Girl’s Alliance, H.O.P.E (Medical and educational outreach in Haiti), and Lollypop Farm.

On the day of the event, we decorated the Briggs Center with a “winter wonderland” theme of white, silver, and gold, and every member pitched in to help with food and drinks. We also held a raffle with beautiful homemade prizes including stuffed animals, paintings, and gift baskets. The charity reps each had a table set up for their materials to receive direct donations. We had many parents show up, as well as student volunteer support. Altogether, we raised around $1,500 for local organizations. The whole club was so proud of our success in our first endeavor, and every representative from the organizations was very enthusiastic about the experience. We hope to make the Gift of Giving a Harley tradition to give back during the holiday season.

Now that the event is over, the Harley Humanitarian Club plans to do more volunteer work to raise awareness of local and global issues. We are going to keep working toward our goal of raising awareness and serving the community through hard work, dedication, and kind hearts.”

Here is a photo of the Harley students at the event:

Gift of Giving event



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