Mia Cleary

Everyone was packed in the cafeteria, the heat was uncomfortable, with so many packed bodies.  Anticipation covered everyone’s faces.  $102 dollars were at stake.  Everyone held their tickets out, seemingly trying to memorize all of their tickets.  “The winner of the fifty fifty raffle and $102 is…,” as she read off the numbers, the whole cafeteria held their breath.  As the numbers were called out, you could see people throw their tickets in the air, obviously disappointed.  Everyone looked around, searching for the winner.  “I have it! I got it!” a person exclaimed.  People searched hungrily for the winner, seething with jealousy.  As the winner moved toward the front of the room, people starred.  The whole room counted the money for the winner, “$20, $40, $60… $101, and $102!”  $102 for the winner, $102 for the school.  It was just the beginning.

My elementary school, a title 1 school, with at least 50% or more of children coming from low-income families, was in need of a new playground.  The PTA decided to host a school bingo night as a way to raise money.  At first I just enjoyed it as a kid; however, when I grew up, I started to volunteer and work the front desk, welcoming people and explaining the raffle and game and how much different materials cost.  This is when I realized how vital a raffle was.  

We had two raffles, one was the entrance raffle, in which everyone got a raffle ticket just for entering the building.  This was great because it gave people something just for entering the door, giving them something so they can have a positive first experience.  It gave them a great first impression, starting the event with a smile on their face.  This would be used at the end of the night when all of the bingo was played to raffle off the extra prizes remaining after the bingo games.  The winner had to be present to win, thus, it gave people an incentive to stay till the end, thus encouraging people to buy more food and bingo supplies for the end.  This also gave people great anticipation for the end as a last hope to win a prize.

The next raffle was by far the most important.  It was a fifty fifty raffle.  People would pay $1 for a ticket or 10 tickets for $5, with half of the money collected going to the winner and half of the money going to the school playground fund.  Since the winner had to be present to win, the same incentive to stay occurred.  All throughout the night, the total is called out to everyone.  As the the money or pot increased, more people bought tickets, ultimately increasing the money for the winner and the school.

The fifty fifty raffle was a huge hit, one raffle everyone wanted to get in on.  Everyone looked forward to the raffle, in the 2007-2008 school year, the overall profits (including the fifty fifty raffle, the food, and bingo materials) for bingo night increased greatly with the first time a profit of $752, the next $967, and finally $1,091.  This helped fund the new playground which was finally installed in 2009.  Bingo night has continued for years to come.  The funding for the new playground brought the community together, striving for a common goal, creating something nice for years to come.  This enriched my community because it brought us together.  When I was going to school, I thought the raffle was for fun, but when I got older and volunteered I realized just how vital the raffle is.  Without the raffle, the playground wouldn’t be there.  It enriched me because I know the importance of fundraising and how everything adds up.  When people put their money in together, it adds up to something great, a playground.

 

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