Karma for Cara Foundation awards microgrants to youths 18 years of age and younger who spearhead exceptional service projects in their communities. Meet Brooke (17) from Woodstock, GA who used her award to host a field day at a local elementary school. From each student who participated, she collected $5 which she used to purchase holiday gifts for children in a hospital.
- How many volunteers participated in your service project (other than you)? Eight adults participated in my service project because I was the main one in charge of the event. I did not need a lot of volunteers because it was my senior project, and I was supposed to be very involved. Also, it took place during a school day, so I could not recruit teen volunteers. Three of the volunteers were PE coaches, while four were my family members and one was the phographer.
- How many hours did you specifically spend on your project? If other participants were involved, how many hours did they spend on the project? Over the course of five months, I spent just about 70 hours on my project. The majority of the hours were earned from writing over 500 receipts to people who signed up and participated in the event. I also had to go shopping for a lot of the supplies, which I used the grant money to buy. Designing and ordering the bracelets also took up a lot of time as I wanted them to be perfect. The volunteers volunteered anywhere from five to fifteen hours on the project depending on their type of involvement with the project. The photographer volunteered about five hours, while my facilitator spent around fifteen hours on my project.
- How many individuals were affected by your project? The exact number of individuals affected by my project is hard to calculate as the gifts I bought with the money I raised were shared among all the patients at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
- What did you learn from this experience? I learned how to have a very good time and money management. I learned to look for as many deals as I could to maximize the money I was given. Time management was so important on making sure I made the deadline for the project.
- How will your project continue having an impact in the future? My project will continue to affect those who are patients at the hospitals as the toys and things I bought will last them a while. The gifts are not one and done kinds of gifts. Also, my brother, who is also in high school, will carry on the tradition of the event. I am working on possibly making this event a club at my school, so that every year, we can raise money for kids in hospitals. I am thinking that each year, I choose a new hospital to sponsor.
- Overall, summarize how your project was completed and how you think it went. My project took a lot of time and sleepless nights to complete, but it was so worth it. I started off by meeting with my facilitator and planning the date and kinds of activities I would do at the event. Then I had to make the permission slips for the children’s parents to sign. When all the permission slips were signed and turned in, I had to make sure every permission slip had a parent signature and $5 included with it. The $5 was the child’s admission fee into the event. I spent over 21 hours total writing receipts for every single participant. My mom helped me make class rosters for the children that signed up. The school had a lot of the supplies that I needed for the event, which helped out a lot as the bracelets, snacks, and copies slowly started adding up. I was able to have Publix donate over 500 little waters to the event, which helped out so much. The day of the event was at first a little hectic, and my family and I were running on three hours of sleep. Although, after the first class had come and gone, we got the hang of what we were doing, and we were fine for the rest of the day. After the event was all over, I could finally breathe; having to do the majority of the organizing and planning proved to be very tedious and stressful. I raised in the end $2,581.30. All of that money is going towards buying holiday gifts for the children at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Hospital. I had four age groups in which I had to divide the money into. The hospital said that the infants and teens were the age group needing the most donations, so I focused my funds on them. I was a very smart shopper and saved a lot of money. The teenage age group will be receiving an X Box One S as a big surprise as my dad made a good point that not a lot of people donating would choose that item. I will be dropping the toys off on either December 10 or December 16. I feel overall my project was a huge success; I was not planning on a lot of kids signing up. I was overwhelmed with joy when 503 kids chose to play in my event. Each participant went home with a snack, water, bracelet, and thank you note.
- How was the Karma for Cara microgrant helpful in the completion of your project? The Karma for Cara microgrant helped me more than one could imagine. Without you guys, I would not have been able to afford the event. I would have been really tight on money and would have had to cut back on some things. Like I mentioned above, you guys helped me pay for the bracelets, snacks, copies, and supplies for the event. Also because of you guys, I was able to make 100% of the proceeds and donations go straight back to the kids. I did not have to take part of the profit to refund myself for the event. I am forever grateful for you guys. Thank you so much for giving me the chance to give back to my community.