As the North High School Student Council took control of BALTO Week, students gave “A New Hope” to children at The CARE Center in Oklahoma City. With Star Wars as their fundraising theme, students helped “Rex find his ROAR” with the out of the world fundraising for the local philanthropy.
The students’ week of fundraising brought in $286,052 with a one time gift from an anonymous donor of $500,000, bringing the total amount raised during BALTO Week to $786,052.
Co-chairs Emma Appling and Meg Jackson, both juniors, said before the reveal of the amount raised, they hadn’t really set a goal this year. They just wanted the students to give from their hearts.
“We wanted to make it possible for more people to get involved,” Appling said prior to the reveal of the total. “It isn’t always about raising the most money.”
“BALTO funds will anchor a significant expansion project at The CARE Center, and the partnership has allowed us to leverage additional community interest and support,” said Student Council Adviser Brian Hunter. “Conversations with prospective funders included Edmond North High School students who advocated on behalf of The CARE Center and our plans for the future. One of these presentations resulted in a $500,000 gift to The CARE Center’s expansion by a donor who wishes to remain anonymous. We are so grateful that BALTO served as a catalyst for this extremely generous gift and the subsequent donations we hope to secure as we make our vision a reality.”
Whether taking on the persona of Luke Skywalker or Princess Leia, the students at North High School raised money to give “A New Hope” to Oklahoma’s children in need.
The CARE Center is a nationally-accredited child advocacy center and the only child advocacy center in Oklahoma County. Child abuse is an epidemic: 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 5 boys will be abused before their 18th birthday. The Care Center’s mission is to fight child abuse and change these statistics. In Oklahoma in 2018 that included 670 girls and 490 boys in Oklahoma.
It is The CARE Center’s mission to change these statistics. They serve as an organization which works with many different agencies, including law enforcement, child protective services, assistant district attorneys, counseling, and family advocacy. The Care Center also works to combat abuse on the forefront of education. Through their ROAR program, children are educated on how to report and recognize abuse. BALTO’s funds this year will be used to build a new building for the Care Center. This building is considered to be key to treating child abuse in Oklahoma County as the Care Center’s numbers keep growing.
“At The CARE Center, we are committed to helping children find their voice and heal after abuse as well as educating adults and children on child abuse prevention. All of our services are provided at no cost to children and their families,” said Stacy McNeiland, chief executive officer of The CARE Center. “Our team recognizes the importance of maintaining accredited status with National Children’s Alliance. It reflects our commitment to proven and current approaches to child abuse response and it validates our organization as the leading expert in Oklahoma County.
“Holistic care is provided at no cost to children and their families, and with this generous total these students are helping us make healing happen.”
FUNDRAISING STUDENT RUN
“This year, I was very proud of all the students I work with because of their passion for the cause as well as the hard work they put in to make BALTO WEEK happen,” Hunter said Monday. “As always, I like to emphasize that this fundraiser is student-run — the kids do the lion’s share of the planning and execution. Also, I would like to emphasize that the Care Center has been an excellent partner during the BALTO process. They even gave a professional development session to our faculty today about spotting child abuse.”
Emma said, “We chose the Care Center because of their energy. We knew that what our money was going towards would change Oklahoma. Not only did they want a partnership this year, but for a lifetime. We also knew that the epidemic of child abuse was so huge that something needed to be done.”
The Care Center has an education program called ROAR.
“ROAR is super cool,” Meg said. “They go around to schools in Oklahoma County and teach kids how to stand up for their bodies. I think it’s really amazing that they are fighting child abuse in such a creative way.”
Emma added that the students took a tour of the Care Center and met one of the girls the center is helping.
“Because it is so confidential we didn’t get to interact with many. When we met the young girl though, she was so happy and excited for life, and we knew it was because of the Care Center! They had changed her life,” Emma said.
Meg said Student Council members decided to raise money for the Care Center after hearing the numbers of children who are abused in Oklahoma.
“We decided to raise money for the Care Center after hearing the terrible statistics that 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 5 boys will be abused before their 18th birthday,” Meg said. “Not only is our money going towards an amazing new healing center at the Care Center, but also we thought it was important to shine a light on the child abuse epidemic happening right here in Oklahoma County.”
Meg said something really made an impression on her during the Friday reveal assembly.
“Something that stands out in my mind is from Friday’s closing assembly when we did our tradition called, ‘Shine your light.’ This is when every student at Edmond North uses their flashlight to show their love for BALTO and the Care Center,” Meg said. “I will never forget looking around the gym at 2,000 lights and thinking about how many lives we will change.”
Pivot, the Common Thread for the three high schools, will be receiving 10 percent of the total raised at each school. Pivot Inc. in Oklahoma City is a nonprofit community organization that advocates, educates, intervenes and counsels youth and families to make a positive difference in their lives.
Since 1995 North has raised more than $3.5 million dollars for BALTO recipients. Students have raised money for child cancer patients, brain tumor patients, special education students, premature babies and many more causes.
BALTO Week is a week full of all types of student-led activities. Activities such as assemblies during school, night activities (dances, movie nights, etc.), Northstock (battle of the bands), sales (T-shirts, pizza, puppy chow, etc.), collecting money at school, and much more are all done in efforts to fundraise for their recipient. A day does not go on during this week without something planned that benefits BALTO.