Continuing to Give Back

By Mia Johnson, Reporter

This winter marks Cleveland’s fourth annual CHS Gives Back fundraiser which exceeded its $5,000 goal, raising a total of $8,253.

This year, Cleveland partnered with the Arlene Schnitzer Foundation in an offshoot called Communicare, a grant program that matches money raised by students by ten to be distributed to a charity focus of the school’s choice. Communicare received $1500 of the total, while the rest of the money goes into an account that Cleveland’s social worker Kate Allen has access to. She identifies 12-15 families in the community with financial need. This could include gifts for the holiday season, winter clothes, paying utility bills, and/or rent. In some cases leadership students shop for items that a family needs.

As part of the Communicare contract, the Arlene Schnitzer Foundation multiplied the money $1500 donated by ten. Cleveland’s total donation now comes to $15,000. Leadership students will have until February to choose programs that will receive this grant money.

Junior/Senior leadership teacher Eric Mirsepassi said, “The focus of Communicare is not just one organization, but a general social need. Our group this year after voting in leadership class decided they wanted to focus on domestic violence and resources. Part of that money stays at Cleveland, the rest of the money is the group´s to distribute to nonprofits throughout Oregon who can apply for a grant to receive the money that fits their focus.”

Mirsepassi added, “This not only provides help for issues and organizations within our community, but gives student voice and responsibility. We talk a lot about wanting to give student voice and when students are choosing this, they´re choosing where the money goes.”

Students will continue to fundraise and execute the goal of Communicare in January and February to get the word out to organizations likely to apply for grants. Jordyn Hoff, a junior heading the Communicare group said, ¨ We get to interview the nonprofits interested in person and see their causes and it’s really rewarding and hands on for us as students.”

This is the first year working with Communicare, and it will likely develop over time. At many schools it is a club, but for now it is housed within the leadership group. Brighouse was originally contacted by the Arlene Schnitzer Foundation, as she had previously been involved when she worked at Franklin High School. She said of the fundraiser, “It just seems like a win-win. It’s money for us, it’s money for the community. Why would you not do this if you can?”

At the schoolwide assembly on Dec. 13, incentives for each milestone in money raised were performed. Among several incentives, for example, science teacher Brenda Gordon was duct taped to the wall, senior Anil Bharati shaved Mirsepassi’s head and beard, and for the $5,000 goal finale, Jan Watt was painted green.

Junior leadership student Quinn DeLany said it is important to emphasize that “If we [had not] meet the goal of $5000, we would [have continued] to fundraise for Communicare throughout the year and the money we do raise will be preserved to make sure the families are getting what they need before looking for other places to put our money. It is important to support the families in our community above all else.”

Because Cleveland students were able to collectively meet the goal, we will be able to contribute to both causes.

Last year Cleveland met the $5,000 goal with the help of an anonymous $2,000 donation. With only one online donation of $1,500 this year, Brighouse was pleased that the student body far exceeded the goal on their own and looks forward to the program continuing to grow.