As Christmas approaches, students bustle from hall to hall with brown envelopes in their hands. Over the past few weeks, members of National Honor Society (NHS) have been scrambling to procure donations for its largest project of the year: an annual toy drive hosted for the Chungwoon Orphanage. An event that serves to educate NHS members about orphans, adoption, and group homes in Korea, the toy drive consists of assigning each member a child who requests a gift that is purchased by the corresponding NHS member through donations. To address challenges with fundraising that have long plagued the event, this year’s NHS executives have implemented new strategies.
“I hope this year’s toy drive is highly successful in not only garnering more support for orphanages, but also in shedding light on the need to improve the quality of life and education for orphans in Korea,” said Amy Kim (12), NHS communications director. “In the end, their future is also our future. To that end, the executive team has launched more projects that have the potential to attract more participation from students compared to previous years.”
Ranging from yupdduk sales to a raffle and teacher auction, several new fundraising activities coupled with classic NHS events, including Thanksgiving-O-Grams and Tape the Teacher, helped revitalize the fundraising process. Interestingly enough, these new activities were the brainchild of the NHS members themselves. To effectively promote, oversee, and partake in their various events, members spent hours collaborating with each other for a month. Besides organizing fundraising campaigns, members have also been tasked with gift wrapping and purchasing the gifts themselves.
“This year’s new events primarily serve to increase engagement of the student body as a whole by incentivizing members to approach students they normally wouldn’t talk to,” said Gray Macklin, NHS advisor. “By giving back through events such as the raffle, an event students are automatically entered in for every 5,000 won they donate, students are more compelled to donate, as they too could potentially receive a gift. These events also give members a reason to approach students they do not know, helping break down a walled community.”
In addition to launching several new promising fundraising activities, NHS also worked on several other projects in collaboration with other clubs, including National Art Honor Society (NAHS). Taking inspiration from the Memory Project, NAHS members created portraits of the orphans for them to keep. Because the orphans have few or no photographs of themselves, NAHS members hope the portraits help the children feel more valued by providing special, personal representations of their childhood.
“Members spent hours after hours on creating each piece with the hope that each piece delivers our sympathy and good wishes to those who are less fortunate than us,” said Michelle Jung (11), NAHS vice president. “Although we unfortunately won’t be delivering the portraits directly ourselves, we hope to establish more meaningful connections in the years to come, especially considering that this is a project we will be undertaking every Christmas from now on.”