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Running a Fundraiser at Harvard-Westlake

By Tess’25

Harvard-Westlake’s students and faculty actively support causes beyond ourselves. The December 17th cookie fundraiser in support of education for Afghan girls demonstrates how our community supports a wide range of good causes, even when they are 7,000 miles away. It was an honor to organize and run this fundraiser, supporting a cause I care about. Here is my story.

I started at HW this fall as a ninth-grader. Early on, my history teacher, Ms. Steinmetz, held meetings with each of her students so that she could learn how to best support us in our academic endeavors. During this meeting, I learned that she had previously been the faculty sponsor for the Social Justice club, and was interested in bringing it back to life. Eager to establish roots at my new school and passionate about the topic, fellow ninth-grader Sarah Parmet and I launched the newly branded Human Rights Club with Ms. Steinmetz as our faculty advisor.

At our first few club meetings, we discussed human rights, how and why they are obstructed, and the human rights that are lacking specifically in Afghanistan. Our goal was to raise money for Razia’s Ray of Hope, a charity that creates schools for girls, including the Zabuli Education Center. Unfortunately, as I write this, the Taliban continues to forbid girls over 11 from attending school in Afghanistan. Still, any education an Afghan girl can obtain is helpful to her future.

We decided to sell cookies to Middle School students through pre-order. By Ms. Steinmetz’s recommendation, Sarah and I visited Mr. Jordan, the Middle School Director of Student Affairs, and Ms. Zimmerman, the Executive Assistant to the Head of the Middle School for help. Both approached the proposed fundraiser enthusiastically and provided detailed guidance throughout each step of the process.

Sarah reached out to CookieGood about a potentially large cookie order. Meanwhile, I coordinated with the amazing team of Middle School deans to announce the fundraiser at grade-level meetings, and Human Rights club members created exceptional advertisements. We started collecting cookie orders, which was an exciting milestone.

On the day of the fundraiser, we set up tables on the Horn Commons and passed out the cookies with the help of volunteers. Students swarmed the tables to pick up red velvet, caramel pretzel, and hot chocolate-flavored cookies. The best moment for me was when I looked around and realized that students who were not regular club attendees had begun helping to pass out cookies.

In this first fundraiser, the Human Rights Club sold 428 cookies and will be donating over $700 to Razia’s Ray of Hope. We are grateful to all supporters of the fundraiser, who enjoyed holiday treats while truly fulfilling “purpose beyond themselves.”

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