10 months ago, I started on this journey to upgrade our school playground for all of our students. Children deserve to be children and what children do best is play. I wanted to bring in some form of creative play for our students during recess. I had to decide on which online fundraising site to go with. I have had a lot of success on DonorsChoose.org but the 4 month time limit was drawing me away. I went with GoFundMe because of the lack of time restriction.
I started this campaign with the hopes of getting an Imagination Playground block set worth over $10,000. When that goal seemed almost impossible, I searched for an alternative. I found the CommunityPlaythings outlast shed which cost $6,000.
With over $2,000 raised, things were looking good. The campaign would, once again, come to a period of inactivity. I received permission from our school to promote the campaign and hand flyers to families towards the end of the last school year. The letters sparked one donation from a child and her innocent message written on the envelope. It was something. It didn't make a dent on the overall goal but it did make me believe this cause was worth it.
With the help of Ms. Anran, we were able to translated the letter into Chinese and sent them home. In addition, I put out a coin collection jar in the school office for any teachers, staff, or visitors passing by to drop their loose change. "A little change goes a long way into making big changes," was written on a sign next to this jar. Day by day, the jar grew heavier and heavier. On both occasions when the jar would be cashed in, we raised over $50.
We waited to see what the translated letter would bring…and it brought in a lot. Families were sending money in to help our efforts. In the end, we managed to collect over $1,122 from family donations. We were over the half way mark! It was still a long ways to go, but it was a great mark to hit.
Yes…button pins. I pitched the idea of selling buttons of our teachers to our principal. What if the TALES teachers were teams? What would their team name be and how would they be portrayed? I had an idea of what a couple of teachers would be…6 to be exact. With the help of Mr. Yuon of CAPA, we came up with the first six teachers. The teacher mascots were illustrated and we were ready to roll. Skeptical at first, the principal allowed me to create flyers and sent them home. The response to the buttons were unbelievable. Students and their families were really on board with the pins. We needed to create the rest of the teachers. Unfortunately, Yuon had moved to greener pastures. I turned to our lovely speech therapist, Tina Yeung, to help come up with the rest of the teams and illustrations. We cranked out waves of six, week by week. With buttons selling for $2 each, kids were sending in money anxiously waiting for their buttons on that same day. Week by week, we'd inch closer and close to our goal.