Last month’s Kicks Against Cancer soccer game raised $2,756 for Camp Okizu, a nonprofit organization that offers outdoor activities for children with cancer and their families. Harker’s annual soccer game, started in 2010 by members of the upper school girls varsity soccer team, raises funds by selling tickets, T-shirts, bracelets, baked goods and the chance to kick soccer balls at faculty members in the popular halftime game called “Butts Up.”
“I have been watching the upperclassmen run Kicks Against Cancer since I was a freshman,” said Krishna Bheda, grade 12, who led the effort this year. “I have appreciated how raising this money for Camp Okizu can really make a difference.”
Each year, the fundraiser is held around the start of the spring semester, and culminates with an evening series of games featuring Harker soccer teams. This year, the upper school girls faced off with Castilleja, and the varsity and junior varsity boys teams played against Menlo.
In the process of planning the event over the years, team members have met with families helped by Camp Okizu and representatives from the organization. “Because of this, it has become really near and dear to my heart,” Bheda said.
Planning for this year’s event started at the beginning of the soccer season. Bheda said her team of organizers – made up of seniors Adyant Kanakamedala, Meena Gudapati and Stephanie Scaglia and junior Julia Amick – helped make sure that the planning process went smoothly.
Several other student groups on campus also contributed to the fundraising mission. The Student Council set up a tailgate to sell food during the games, and the Spirit Club promoted the event on social media and during lunchtime on campus. Students also prepared baked goods to sell, and members of other soccer teams created posters and videos to raise further awareness. “It was a great bonding experience,” Bheda said.