The Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound just finished up their latest fundraising effort. But this time it wasn’t to benefit their own organization; it was to benefit the hundreds of thousands of men, women and children affected by Malaria in Africa.
Malaria, a life threatening disease that is transmitted by mosquitoes, is particularly prominent in Africa where people have little money to prevent and treat the disease. According to Malaria No More, a not-for-profit whose mission is to end malaria, an African child dies every 30 seconds, and those who do survive have a high risk of brain damage.
The Malaria No More fundraiser is a national program that was started in 2007 in collaboration with Malaria No More. The program helps to teach members compassion to others outside the Boys & Girls Clubs organization. “We are lucky enough to live in an area where we don’t have to worry about mosquito bites, so we gotta help those people that do have to worry about something that small,” Amanda, a 12-year-old Al Davies Club member said when asked why it is important to help raise the funds.
For the second year in a row, the kids of the Boys & Girls Clubs have made grassroots efforts to raise much needed money to buy life saving bed nets that help prevent the spread of Malaria from disease ridden mosquitoes to African citizens. “I’m glad that we have transportation and hospitals that we can get to, unlike some people in Africa. I don’t take that for granted anymore. So let’s try to prevent this disease so we can have less deaths,” 14-year-old Montel said about the program. And to further their mission of aiding the prevention of malaria transmission, the goal of the Clubs this year was to be able to purchase 200 nets- or $2,000- through the Malaria No More organization
Most of the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound’s eight individual Clubs and 11 outreach sites held some sort of contest or event to raise money. The Al Davies Branch hung posters throughout their Club to remind parents and volunteers of their efforts, and they also held a community dance. Comedian Pierre Crockwell also held a benefit comedy show, and Ashley Robinson with Jazz of Tacoma, and ITM Outreach Ministries sponsored another concert with local Christian artists where a pair of Air Jordan shoes was raffled off-all to benefit the Malaria No More fundraiser. “It’s a good thing to help other people out that you don’t even know,” Corien, another Al Davies member said about why she participated this in this year’s efforts. In all, their Club raised $744.00.
The D.A. Gonyea Branch held a movie night in their gymnasium where entrance fees and proceeds from concessions all went to their Malaria No More fundraising efforts. They raised a total of $286.
Both the East Side Branch and the South Pierce County Branch sites held penny drives. In order to make it fun and exciting they made it into a friendly competition between the Club members and staff, where coins counted as positive points and bills counted as negative points. The Club members at both Branches beat the staff by a landslide.
The South End Branch decorated their common area with a net that dangled words that served as a reminder to the kids about what this project meant. They also had a large change tub at the entrance and the Club members continuously reminded parents and staff that donations were needed. At a recent staff meeting, Judy Jones, the South End Branch Director, said, “This event made the kids feel really good. It was something they could all relate to and have pride in.” The South End Branch’s efforts brought in more than $300.
All in all, the collective efforts of all the Clubs brought in a very impressive $2,060. Those funds will enable Malaria No More to purchase 206 much needed bed nets. Their campaign this year, also more than doubled the total brought in for the 2007 fundraiser.
Andrea, an 11-year-old Club member, has the right frame of mind when it came to this fundraiser, “We’re lucky to not have mosquitoes with diseases to bite us, so if we can save lives by raising money for nets, why not?”
The Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound benefits over 11,800 children and teens at eight branches and 11 outreach sites in Pierce, Mason, and Kitsap Counties. The Clubs offer programs designed to enhance personal growth and education, tutoring, computer skills, delinquency prevention, the arts, sports training, league involvement, and much more. Through quality professional staff and a fun, positive environment, the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound assist thousands of kids in developing much needed life skills, self-esteem, and positive values. For more information on the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound, please call (253) 502-4600 or go online to www.bg-clubs.com.