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Latressa Bagby

My two sisters and I have been involved in numerous different extracurricular activities throughout our childhood, both in and out of school including drama, competitive cheer, JROTC, track and basketball to name a few; so fundraising has played a huge role in my family.  Anyone who has participated in these types of activities knows that it is very expensive, so we have to fundraise in order to be able to afford it.

Earlier this year, my sister’s competitive cheer team, the Pumas made gym history by becoming the first team at that gym to earn a spot to compete at the Summit competition at Disney’s Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Florida.  This is like the super bowl of competitive cheer and getting a bid is extremely difficult.   All of the team was beyond excited and parents very proud, but some of the parents were masking uncertainty as they knew they could not afford the $300.00 per athlete entry fee, let alone the cost to get there, food and hotel among other related expenses.  My mom knew she had to do something to help as this team deserved to go because they worked so hard for it and it would have been a tragedy for them to not be able to go simply because they did not have the money to do so.  So along with several other fundraisers, she organized a raffle.  I designed, printed & helped to distribute the raffle tickets to the team members.  We got all of the items for the raffle donated by some of the athlete’s parents or their employers as well as from several local businesses who wanted to help support these local athletes who would be representing their community in Florida.  Some of the items donated included gas gift cards, several salon and spa gift certificates, thirty-one items, charcoal grill, with the grand prize being a brand new set of Michelin tires up to a $1,200.00 value.  Each ticket was sold for only $1.00 each and each team member could sell as many tickets as they wanted to.  Every ticket sold went directly to the gym account of the athlete who sold the ticket to offset the cost of the competition.  I even sold a few for my sister.  The raffle was an extreme success raising almost $4,000.00!   

It was an amazing feeling to see all of their hard work pay off and for me to be a part of it.   This raffle impacted our community in a positive way by giving them the opportunity to improve the quality of these kid’s lives and helping to create an everlasting memory for them.  For the athletes themselves, this has shown them that they have the support and backing of their community and taught them that everything is not free and that in order to accomplish anything in life you have to put in the hard work and effort necessary to achieve a goal.   For me personally, this and the many other fundraisers have taught me about hard work, dedication, and just simply helping people for the greater good and not only for things that benefit me.  It made me feel really good to see the smile on my sister and her team member’s faces after we helped them and how appreciative they were of what we did to help them. I hope to use the skills I have learned to help other people get involved in fundraising and eventually I’ll be doing this for my own children.