Harker students have a long tradition of contributing to worthy causes, but they more than out did themselves during Global Empowerment and Outreach (GEO) Week in November when proceeds more than quadrupled the original goal.
The fundraising activities, as noted in the San Jose Mercury News Online, administered by members of the campus GEO club, ranged from vows of silence by students to the hilarious but lucrative pig-kissing commitment by faculty members. The result? Enough money was raised not only to supply about 50 pigs to rural farmers to bring them above the poverty level, but, ultimately, enough to build an entire school serving up to 500 children. The final amount was more than $14,000, a stunning result in these hard economic times.
A critical component of the effort was GEO’s efforts to educate students on the conditions in China the group hoped to alleviate by providing pigs to help farmers climb above the poverty level. The GEO week kick-off began the Friday before with a talk by Kim Plewes, international youth coordinator for Free the Children, a Toronto-based organization assisting families around the world to escape poverty by harnessing the energy of North American youths.
Plewes traveled from Toronto in early December to accept the oversized check and thank the students in person for their hard work and generosity. “This is remarkable,” she said in front of an assembly of students. “We have not had a single school in Northern California in the last two, three, four years remotely raise this much this much money in an entire year, and you did it in a single week.”
Along with the vow of silence pledges and pig-kissing contest, student fundraising included a beverage and tote bag sale and, to raise awareness, a millennium development goal scavenger hunt trivia contest on poverty and China.
Funds will go to Gansu province in China where alternative income efforts include providing pigs to farmers and training the farmers on their care. That extra income often allows the children to go to school along with reducing hunger and improving living conditions.
“We are amazed at the week that the GEO club at Harker was able to put together in just three short months,” said Plewes. “We haven’t seen this level of organization and successful execution of such a diverse number of fundraising and awareness raising events from any other group in California.
“On behalf of the entire Free The Children team, I would like to thank the GEO club for all of the effort and creativity that they demonstrated during the amazing week that happened recently. We are blown away by the support and energy from the Harker community for our programming in China. Thank you!”