Winter term 2018, a group of us enrolled in the Social Justice in k-12 Education course chose to work with students from Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School. We were able to work with students over than past 10 weeks of the term building personal relationship and assisting with various assignments. Outside of being involved in the classroom, we were also given the opportunity to raise money to establish the King’s Field Trip Fund.
The King’s Field Trip Fund is an attempt at being able to give every child the opportunity to experience learning outside of the classroom. Field trips are a great addition to a typical classroom education and in fact add to the retaining of information on behalf of the students. For those of us who attended school outside of the home, we all remember how exciting field trips are. We can remember the excitement surrounding taking a school bus and the importance of following directions and listening to your teacher. Unfortunately, many students don’t have the opportunity to experience field trips for the financial constraints their families are in.
Those of us who volunteered at King composed of a pretty large group and we were inclined to separate into smaller groups to better utilize the strengths of every individual. One aspect of our smaller groups was the bake sale group. The bake sale group worked together not only to bake the goods, but to sit and stand in the cold for two days (joyfully). Fortunately sacrificing warmth paid off and we were able to raise a total of $450 from just two days of having a bake sale. It was an amazing feat that we owe to the group members who stayed up late nights to mix and make all of the baked goods.
There was a second smaller group that turned to online donors to advocate for the King’s Field Trip Fund through the creation of a UCaring page. We were able to share this link across social media and access a entirely different demographic of donors who may of never walked across the Portland State campus. Through this link, we were able to raise a total of $130. This form of fundraising was open the longest during our fundraising efforts, though it did not have that great of a success in relation to the bake sale.
Our third smaller group involved a few group members who sought fundraising efforts from their place of employment. While not all efforts were successful, there was one member who was able to raise a total of $90 in a one month period.
Lastly, the final attempt of fundraising was community outreach into long term funding. This proved to be the most difficult to gain traction with. The most difficult aspect was attempting to build genuine, trustworthy relationships with businesses in the community, being that we only had the length of the term (ten weeks). We have yet to receive a donation from any business. Although we have generated enough buzz regarding long term donating from the business community and have made connections with the Alberta Street Business Association, that will possibly be an avenue a group in the future term can gain traction with.
This has been an exciting term from building personal relationship with the students to the surprising outcome of our fundraising efforts. Through all our efforts we were able to raise a total of $670 when we initially had a goal of $300. As a group, we shared our fears and triumphs in and outside of the classroom. We discussed the collective knowledge gained in communicating about our differences and understanding that we all have something special to offer the world of education and even more to those students we have the privilege of getting to work with. We hope that our work this term will continue to facilitate the growth of the amazing student at King Elementary and as the term draws to a close and we all go our separate ways, we will keep in mind our efforts to positively impact the lives of others.
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for other” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.