AOC students rally together to fundraise for Hurricane Harvey relief

Academy of the Canyons (AOC) students in the Associated Student Body (ASB) work to raise $1,000 for Hurricane Harvey relief on Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. Christina Cox/The Signal
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Throughout Friday, students in the Associated Student Body (ASB) at Academy of the Canyons (AOC) worked tirelessly to raise money for those in need nearly 1,600 miles away.

Holding buckets with the message of “Place Hope Here,” the students asked each car and arrival to donate to their Hurricane Harvey Fundraiser with the ultimate goal of raising $1,000 for victims of the natural disaster.

“Once the disaster happened we knew we had to do something for it,” said AOC junior Megan Lenge, an ASB member who led the day’s fundraising effort.  “I’m excited and I know it’s going to be a great cause and I know it’s going to help a lot of families.”

The ASB program decided to host the fundraiser in front of the campus so both parents and students could contribute to the cause.

“The idea was to do ‘drive-thru donations’ so as parents are dropping off their kids they can help out,” ASB Advisor Jessica Ruiz said.  “We’re aiming for morning drop-off, lunchtime pick-up and drop-off, and afternoon drop off.”

Academy of the Canyons (AOC) students in the Associated Student Body (ASB) hold buckets outside of the school and work to raise $1,000 for Hurricane Harvey relief on Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. Christina Cox/The Signal

ASB also placed at least two people outside throughout the day to encourage donations during off hours and from community members.

“We’re here all day raising some money,” Ruiz said.  “We have 400 students so we thought with 400 students $1,000 seems like a reasonable goal.”

By 8:30 a.m. the students were well on their way to reaching their goal with more than $500 in donations before the school day began.

All of the money from the one-day fundraiser will go to Global Giving, a non-profit organization that donates to local charities like the Houston Food Bank and the Humane Society and provides relief in both the short-term and long-term.

“We wanted to choose Global Giving because it was a reliable organization,” Lenge said.  “They’re an organization that gives out to local charities in Houston so we wanted to make sure all of our proceeds went to the actual families that are being affected by this disaster.”

They also chose to donate to the non-profit because they found it to be a reliable organization that provides funds to areas most in need.

“They give money to local on the ground charities who will know best what the immediate needs of the community are,” Ruiz said.  “They were highly-rated by all of the charity assessing websites.”

Academy of the Canyons (AOC) students in the Associated Student Body (ASB) cheer as a student donates money to the Hurricane Harvey Fundraiser on Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. Christina Cox/The Signal

Both Ruiz and Lenge said they have friends who were personally affected or know someone affected by Hurricane Harvey.

“One of my good friends from college just started her residency and she just had a baby and she just moved to Houston and their house was flooded,” Ruiz said.  “It’s a wide-ranging impact.”

This is not the first time AOC has donated to help global non-profit or disaster relief efforts.  Last year, the ASB program fundraised for the Thirst Project to provide safe, clean drinking water to communities.

And in 2010, the school did a similar drive-thru donation to raise more than $1,000 for the victims of the Haiti earthquake disaster.

“Philanthropy is one of the most important things we can learn as young people becoming adults,” Ruiz said.

With another hurricane barreling toward Florida, the students said they are more than willing to host another fundraise to assist those impacted by Hurricane Irma.

“It’s helping people, why wouldn’t we?” Lenge said.  “It’s amazing how young we are and that as teenagers we can raise this amount of money and do it for such an amazing cause… A lot of people underestimate us but we can do a lot of great things.”

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On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_

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