Today’s post is from Maggie Boorman. Maggie is just starting her freshman year at Clemson University after spending many of her high school years leading her school’s TFFT Club. We like to think of Maggie as TFFT’s little elf… there have been countless ways that she has given of herself to benefit TFFT (if you remember our holiday card last year, Maggie tied each and every one of those ribbons!). We could not be more appreciative of her support or impressed with her global commitment to helping others. Today we get to read about her experience leading the TFFT Club, and tomorrow we will hear about her summer experience volunteering in Tanzania! Are you a high school or college student interested in TFFT?! You can follow Maggie’s lead… we’d love to get you involved!
Who would think that my involvement with The Foundation For Tomorrow would begin with a biology project?! As strange as it sounds, that’s exactly how I got involved with this incredible organization. It was sophomore year and I walked into English class carrying a poster I made in biology on HIV/AIDS in Africa. My English teacher, Ms. Patrizio, noticed my poster and asked if she could see it. This sparked a whole conversation about our mutual love for everything Africa—including the TFFT Club at Myers Park High School that she advises. The more she told me about The Foundation for Tomorrow, the more excited I got, and with that I undoubtedly decided to join the club. I had always wanted to do something to help the kids in Africa—as cliché as it sounds—but I never knew what I could do to help that would truly make a difference.
The more I learned about The Foundation for Tomorrow, the more I knew it was an honest, strong organization that truly had the students’ best interest at heart and that truly was making a difference. I was a member of the club, led by Amy Hammond and Ashton Ratcliffe, throughout my sophomore year and learned as much as I could about the organization. Then, beginning my junior year, I became the president of the club. Being the president of any club at a school the size of Myers Park (around 3,000 students) is difficult. With over 100 different clubs and organizations, it is hard to convince students to join and even harder to make sure they follow through with their commitment to the club.
I was able to build up the club by finding a few friends in different grades who were all interested in TFFT and would be dedicated to the club. From there, I tried to spread the word as much as possible- on Facebook, the morning announcements, in the quad during lunch. Just as I was, the more my classmates learned about TFFT, the more interested they became in the cause.
Like I said, with a big school, having a small club is difficult. One of the hardest parts I found was having participation at meetings. With club members involvement in other things like sports, jobs, and tutoring, it is a big challenge getting students to participate at meetings. I found that one of the best ways to draw people to your meetings is to just spread the word. There were plenty of times when people I’d never seen would show up at a meeting because they’d heard about the cause and wanted to learn more. Another draw for students is always food. Whenever we would promise a snack at the meetings…the attendance would be much greater. Who can blame them though? After a 7-hour school day you get pretty hungry!
During our meetings we would teach more about TFFT, work on designs for our t-shirt sales, write letters to the students at the Usa River Academy, and take any ideas any of the club members had. Each meeting lasted about 30 or 45 minutes, depending on how much we had to talk about. Our best meeting was last winter when Meghann and Kaitlin came to speak with the group about TFFT. We had higher attendance than usual, and everyone loved hearing from them firsthand what TFFT is all about. Last year we had about 3 meetings, and although I would have liked to have more, sometimes that’s the best you can do with all of the commitments everyone has after school.
Some of our fundraisers included t-shirt sales and a fundraiser at Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt. Some of us also helped TFFT by working at the SOS Gala, labeling fundraising envelopes, writing notes to donors, helping with Christmas cards, leading a Crowdrise fundraiser, and participating in a fundraiser at Flywheel! There were so many little things for us to do that were easy but were a big help to Meghann and Kaitlin by cutting (a tiny bit) out of their huge workload.
Given how much I love TFFT and all that they do, I am hoping to stay very involved during my time at Clemson. I am working on the committee for the SOS Gala that will take place in November, just trying to do anything I can being out of Charlotte to help! At some point in the next year or two I would like to set up a TFFT club at Clemson because I think it would be a great way to spread the word about TFFT and to raise money to sponsor a student. I also plan to stay in close contact with Meghann and Kaitlin and help however I can during breaks and the Summer!