Galloway School educates students on nonprofits, invites 40 organizations to Service Fair. (Hint hint. We’re one of them!)December 2nd, 2009
Yesterday was a warm and sunny fall day. It was the kind of day that Atlantans gladly walked their dogs at Chastain Park.
Meanwhile, just across the street, children pre-K through 12th grade studied math or English. Some were on recess kicking a soccer ball on the playground as I pulled up in front of the Galloway School. Having luckily arrived at school with plenty of time to spare, I found a good parking spot and was ready to unload my booth supplies for the Service Fair.
In the spirit of Galloway’s 40th anniversary and Founder’s Day, they invited 40 community organizations to promote their charitable works to Galloway’s students at the Fair. And we were one of those organizations! (We worked with the Galloway School last year for Sweaters For Seniors and thus, the special invitation.)
Grabbing my basket of sweaters and our handmade cardboard donation box, I headed into the Chaddick Art Center on the beautiful campus of Galloway.
The large, modern open space was flooded with bright sunlight seeming to forecast a happy day ahead for students, teachers, parents and nonprofits participating at the event.
Royal blue tablecloths with hand painted clay pots decorated each vendor’s table. I overheard a teacher explaining that the students had made them for us. Each pot was filled with sand and had a pencil stuck in it with the name of service organization printed and taped to the top of it.
I found ours nestled around the corner from the main room and immediately met my neighbor, Ellen Milholland. Ellen was representing AAUW, an organization that helps girls and women with education and scholarships through a major book fair they do each year. We hit it off and started discussing our mutual interest in the nonprofit world and sharing our individual missions with each other.
Before long, children of all ages soon began to fill the room. Yes! We had customers and I needed to be ready! So, I began my pitch. “Hi. My name is Sharna. I’m with ‘Sweaters for Seniors.’ We’re looking for creative class leaders to help us expand our program next year. Your class could make ‘Sweaters’ as creative and as special as you want it to be. I would help you promote it. Just let me know if you’re interested. Here’s my card.”
This basic pitch along with questions I had for the students went on for 3 hours. Various aged groups and classes came at different times. The 4th graders who helped us last year recognized our booth and came up to say hello. Some of the older teens had sheets they were filling out as part of an assignment to better understand what nonprofits do and how they could help.
And there were many to choose from! Several animal organizations were represented and I must have spotted at least 9 dogs at 4 booths including Canine Assistants. There were large familiar organizations such as Unicef and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Plus lots of Atlanta nonprofits like AID Atlanta, Atlanta Community Food Bank, Atlanta Union Mission and Adopt-A-Grandparent.
The Service Fair gave me and many others a way to see how many needs we have in our society and also, the many special people who are working to serve those needs.
It was truly a day I’ll never forget. Thank you, Lexi Fields who organized and invited us to the Service Fair at the Galloway School. I hope we caught the interest of some of your students in helping us with our 3rd Annual Sweaters for Seniors! And if not, at least you know that all the students were inspired to do charitable works for some wonderful organization in the near future.