A Raffle Mission by Megan Johnson
A Raffle Mission by Megan Johnson
Every year, a group of about fifteen students from my high school goes on a mission trip to Zambia, Africa, to help out our sister school, St. Francis, in the village of Malole.
I was one of the people fortunate enough to be able to go on this trip the summer of my junior year. Each year, in order to aid our sister school financially, we hold the Africa Mission Drive.
One of the biggest fundraisers during this drive is the Mr. BG Pageant, a male beauty pageant designed in a way to raise money for the Mission Drive. Each contestant has a money jar, and for every $5 donated, the constant of your choice gains one point towards their final score.
During my senior year, I was in charge of the Mr. BG Pageant. My goal for us was to raise $2,000, which would equal tuition for twenty students the next school year at St. Francis in Malole, Zambia. In order to help us reach this goal, I came up with the idea to raffle off some of the items my friends and I had brought home from Zambia with us. Through the contestant’s jars, the concession stand, and our donation boxes spread throughout the area, we were able to raise approximately $1,700, just shy of our goal. However, with the raffle, we were able to raise an extra $200, money which we would not have received otherwise. This made our final total $1,900, and an anonymous donation received after the pageant rounded our total up to $2,000, allowing us to reach our goal.
For the raffle, we laid out four hand carved bowls, one painting, and one shirt, all made in Malole. These items attracted a lot of attention from the crowd, and were all items that we had brought home and either realized “why did we buy this” or that we simply did not have an attachment to. By raffling off these items, we were able to bring in that extra $200 which we would not have received otherwise, and send two more students to school. The raffle helped the Africa Mission Drive as a whole by helping to send two more students to school the next year, and helped to boost the morale of not only myself, but also my team helping me to run the Pageant.
The Mr. BG Pageant is completely student run, and having such a personal stake in it, as I had gone to Zambia the summer before, not hitting our goal was heartbreaking. However, when the raffle closed and I added on the $200, it brought us that much closer, and that final anonymous donation that helped us reach our goal made me extremely grateful for everyone who attended the show and for everyone who donated.
The experience running the Mr. BG pageant enriched my life greatly. I have struggled with not being able to do more to help those I left in Malole, and by running the Mr. BG Pageant I was given way to help and a way to make a difference for them again, and I was determined to do everything I possibly could to send those extra twenty students to school. Our sister school is one of the best in Zambia, and with that comes a price – $100 tuition. With that tuition students are fed, clothed, and given a place to live during their time at the school. A lot of the students who go to St. Francis are from wealthy families who can afford this education, however, a lot of the students come from some of the poorest villages in Zambia, and are only given this opportunity through the scholarship money that we raise at BG each year.
Since the raffle was such a huge success, we were able to tell the students going to Zambia this year to buy a few extra items to raffle off at the Mr. BG Pageant next year, in order to start a tradition, attract more attention, and send more and more students to school in the years to come.
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Contributed by Megan Johnson
August 28, 2015
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