‘Tis Better to Give

‘Tis Better to Give

by Susan Neuhalfen

When Maddx Nguyen found out that the Adkins Librarian, Mrs. O’Rear, had been diagnosed with cancer, he said he felt bad and wanted to do something to help her.

“I’ve known her since third grade,” said Maddx who is now in the fifth grade at Adkins Elementary in Lantana. “I thought about it and came up with an idea of how to help.”

Maddx said he talked to one of his close friends about doing a fundraiser for Mrs. O’Rear and then told his mom when he got home from school. She agreed to help him but reminded him that this was going to be a lot of work.

Their idea was to get donations for a raffle basket and raise money for Mrs. O’Rear to help her pay for her medical bills. Maddx and his mom, Vy, went to Adkins Elementary Vice Principal Erin Vennell to ask permission to raise money for Mrs. O’Rear. She agreed and they started contacting businesses to donate prizes.

“We learned so much during the process,” said Maddx’s mom, Vy. “Because we weren’t a 501(c) registered charity and just people raising money it was a problem with many of the bigger organizations.”

For example, many of the sports teams and big chain companies were not able to donate because it is against their policy to donate to an organization that is not legally recognized as a non-profit. It is a safeguard for companies. The 501(c) title means that the donation will be tax-deductible, but more importantly it keeps them from donating to a cause that may, in some cases, be a scam.

So that was one hurdle though it didn’t turn out to be a very big hurdle, because they had so many local businesses that were willing to donate.

With the help of his mom, Maddx put together a presentation and letter for local businesses. Some of the first to donate were Cathy Miller at Lawyer’s Title, Alex King of King Financial and Tony Pickett at Body Bionics. They also received donations from WinKids and Romney Pediatrics, some giving gift cards and money, some giving goods and services.

The top prize was the donation of an Xbox One S from Microsoft.

“Everyone wanted to win that,” said Maddx.

Maddx started selling raffle tickets by going to all of the kids in the fifth grade and asking for their help. About half of the class agreed and those who volunteered were given 20 tickets to sell at $5 per ticket. Maddx and his mother sold raffle tickets every morning and every afternoon outside Adkins Elementary. They went to the Harpool Orchestra concert and sold over $400 in raffle tickets outside that concert alone. They sold tickets at the Adkins Winter Concert. Bahama Bucks donated 20% of their proceeds one evening while nine Adkins students with signs directed people into the store. They also promoted sales online with Facebook and other social media sites. All of these activities took nearly two months of collecting, promoting and selling.

On December 16, Maddx and his family waited for Mrs. O’Rear to come back to school from her doctor’s appointment. A special announcement came from the office for all of the teachers to turn on the closed circuit television systems in their rooms. There, for all of the school to see, was Maddx and a surprised Mrs. O’Rear. He presented her with a check for $4,185 toward her medical expenses.

Mrs. O’Rear then drew the names of the winners for each of the prizes in the raffle basket, making for a very attentive audience with the kids waiting to see who won each prize.

“Everybody saw it,” beamed Maddx. “We got to do the whole thing live in front of the school.”

The outcome was better than they could have imagined. Mrs. O’Rear was so touched and they raised such an enormous amount of money, they couldn’t have asked for a better result from all of that work.

“He’s learned a lot about project management,” smiled Vy. “It was a lot of time and effort, but definitely worth it.”


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