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Jailene Ochoa

I am part of a social justice youth group named FYSH, Fighting Youth Shouting out for Humanity, and we host an annual fundraiser every year called Coffeehouse. This past summer, FYSH raised more than $1200 dollars to award as a scholarship to an undocumented student that strives to attend college but does not have the financial means to do so, and cannot receive federal aid due to their status. The fundraiser also had a raffle component, with a raffle that was funded through donations by local businesses and the proceeds went towards our goal of a scholarship. Planning for Coffeehouse was an exhausting process that took the better part of two months, with meetings occurring almost daily and unexpected complications causing stress among the members. However, we worked through any issues and Coffeehouse wa s a tremendous success. Thanks to our hard work and the generosity of our community, the event proceeded flawlessly and everyone enjoyed themselves while supporting a good cause. Working on the food and raffle committees, I canvassed the community businesses to ask for donations, and sold food and raffle tickets throughout the event. As I took lead of the food sales while volunteering on the day of, I worked to make sure we had what we planned, and did my best to sell food quickly and efficiently throughout the event, which helped our final proceeds greatly. Through my personal experience with selling raffle tickets, I discerned a few things. The grand prize at the end of the night was half of the pot, and while this may seem as if we are losing money, the great interest that this sparked increased raffle ticket sales substantially. This brought a high level of excitement to the final awarding of the pot through announcements about the current pot value throughout the event. We had m ultiple people selling raffle tickets, from the table at the entrance to people strategically placed at the sides of the audience in order to increase the amount raised as more people were willing to buy if the raffle tickets were accessible. I also learned the difficulty in obtaining donations for a raffle as we were not able to provide many prizes ourselves and had to look to our local community for assistance. Some organizations were more than generous while others were not. While I learned a lot about the complexity and difficulty of hosting a fundraiser with a raffle component, I also believe that the raffle contributed to our final proceeds substantially and that it was critical to the success of the event with its heightened audience participation. This event was for an amazing cause that I feel very strongly about. While I was lucky enough to be born in this country, some of my relatives and close friends were not afforded that same privilege. Due to this, their ability to at tain a college education is severely limited by their economic situation and their inability to pay for college has become a difficult hardship that I have been a witness to. I truly felt that my participation in this event had a purpose and I hope to continue working to help others throughout my time in college and beyond. I recognized to a deeper level that helping people is very meaningful and I believe that it was a learning experience that will affect me in all my actions moving forward. Coordinating this raffle as part of FYSH taught me the power that youth can have when they work together, which is a wonderful lesson that I hope more youth will come to know.