Sunday, April 6, 2014

Not Perfection, But Progress

Things have really started to pick up for my project in just the past couple days! Mr. Hawkins finally gave me the A-okay to hold my walk at South on Sunday May 25th. Once I got that confirmation, I emailed my AFSP person updating her, and also submitted my order forms for all the promotional materials (flyers, postcards, wristbands) and my form for the signs, including a big "REGISTRATION" banner and directional signs for the walk route. Woohoo!

Spring break is quickly approaching and I need to accomplish as much as possible before I leave for sunny Arizona. So today I emailed quite a few potential sponsors explaining the event and attached the sponsorship packet which details the different levels and benefits that come along with each. I also have several mental health facilities I could not find email addresses for, so I will be calling those places tomorrow. Along with sponsors, I also need to start recruiting walkers. Since my walk page allows for walkers to register on a team, my plan is to get different clubs and groups at South to participate as teams. Thus far I have contacted Ms. Distelrath and Coach Zaranek for Student Association and the track team, respectively, and have also talked to girls on both who I think would make great team captains. I know the class of 2016 student council is on board as well. This week I'm going to work on getting teams made from the Tower classes and other sports teams. Additionally, I'm going to get a head start on advertising by contacting the Grosse Pointe News and Grosse Pointe Patch. Finally, I want to contact the principals of North and Parcells, because a Parcells teacher recently committed suicide and I'm sure many students and staff would like to do the walk in his memory.

As you can see things are going a mile a minute! I was so stressed earlier this weekend, but now that I have got a handle on everything and know what needs to be done, I'm feeling a lot better. I really need to start thinking about my talk, but I'm not getting too crazy about it yet.

For anyone reading who would like to register for the walk, you may do so here!

Friday, March 21, 2014

All I Do is Wait....

It feels like I've been waiting forever! I STILL do not have confirmation from the school that my date for the walk is okay and therefore I haven't been able to move forward with any other planning stuff. Finally today I went to the athletic office and left a message for the athletic director Mr. Hawkins with his assistant. They are supposed to contact me soon to set up a meeting. It is incredibly frustrating that this is eating up so much valuable time I could use to be recruiting walkers and finding sponsors and promoting the walk. I am trying super hard to stay positive but I'm just really anxious about getting things going!!

Hopefully next time I blog I will have a lot more progress to report. Also the next time I blog I believe will be when I need to have an idea of what my talk will be about. I am still very undecided about it but I want to order the "Talk Like Ted" book Mr. Provenzano has been showing our class because I think it would be very beneficial and could help me in writing a great speech. I definitely want to be one of the people that gets to speak at the TEDx conference so I'm sure the book could help me with that.

Sorry this blog post is so lacking and I'm praying I will make leaps and bounds towards my goal within the next couple weeks! Keep me in your thoughts and send me good vibes!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

A Minor Setback...

Planning the walk has reached a bit of a setback! I got the building use form back from student activities, and it had a Post-It note that read "NO". Mrs. Mitzel, the student activities coordinator, explained to me that the athletic department vetoed the event for that date because they have too much going on that particular day. However, they said that Sunday could probably be okay, so I resubmitted the form and should hear back this week. Once I do, I can order the promotional materials like flyers and postcards, start advertising, and begin reaching out to potential sponsors. I actually was going to do that this week because I didn't even think having my date vetoed was a possibility, so it's lucky that I didn't! It would have been a disaster to have to re-order all new flyers with the right date! Yikes! Definitely dodged a bullet there.

Even though I was very upset when I first found out about the athletics department saying no, I'm keeping a positive attitude. Sunday can work just as well, and the walk can still be successful! Planning and organizing will soon get very busy, but I know I'll be able to take it in stride and it will all pay off in the end. I'm definitely going to try and speak to all the spring sports teams, because they could provide some great participation for the walk and it could be a competition of sorts to see which team can fundraise the most. I also want to find people who would like to speak or perform at the opening ceremony of the walk. 

As long as I try my hardest and put a lot of effort into this project, that's all that counts! I'm not going to stress about reaching a certain amount of participants or money raised, because from the beginning we've been told that failure is an option. And while I don't want my walk to be a total failure, I've kind of put things into perspective and realized that I'm a 15-year-old girl trying to organize a major event on top of school, sports, church, and my plethora of extracurricular activities. So if the event isn't a smashing success it'll be okay, because it will be a personal success for me and a victory for suicide prevention no matter how small! 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Reflecting on 20 Time

This week Mr. P asked us to reflect on our 20 Time experience and what has been the best and worst parts, as well as what we would do differently.

The best part of 20 Time has been finding a passion for nonprofit work and having the motivation and time to dedicate to such a big project. Without this class assignment, I definitely would not have took on planning on an Out of the Darkness Walk like I am now. While I really care about suicide prevention, doing something this huge for the cause would not have occurred to me on my own. I'm super grateful for 20 Time because it's been an incredibly beneficial experience and will only continue to get more rewarding as I continue planning for the walk, and ultimately the day of the walk will be the icing on the cake to see all my hard work pay off. I think overall 20 Time is a great idea for high school students.

The worst part of 20 Time has been the lack of direction. It's hard because everyone's projects are so different, and we were told just to find something we're passionate and run with it. While it's a great idea, sometimes it proved challenging because I didn't have a specific game plan or checklist to follow. Looking back I realize I basically did nothing the first three months.

If I could do anything differently I would have been much more goal-oriented from the beginning. I think all in all though, I would still have picked this project, because I'm realizing more and more everyday how important it is to continue the fight against suicide.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Back in the US of A!

It feels so good to be in America!! I spent the last week in Europe performing and touring England and France with my choir and while it was an absolutely amazing experience, I'm definitely glad to be home. My group's flight was delayed, resulting in us missing our connecting flight and having to spend a night in New York, so I was even more eager to get to GP today.

Due to the fact that I was out of the country for the entirety of winter break, I've made no progress with my project but planning for the walk will resume this week. The sponsorship resources are finally up on the walk manual so I'm going to begin contacting potential sponsors and then I need to start advertising because it's in just about 3 months! I can't believe how quick everything is coming up!

While I was in Paris I saw a crêpe place called Twenty Time and was able to snap a picture through the bus window. Crazy coincidences are all around!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Still Waiting...

This week was a rather unproductive one, as I am still waiting on the sponsorship packet and PR resources to be uploaded to the walk manual. I hope they get put up this week, but even if they do, I don't know how much time I would have to utilize them because I'm currently preparing for my trip to France and England! I leave on Friday so my 20 time will be put on hold for a little bit.

I did accomplish a couple small things this week, including turning in the building use form to student activities. Mrs. Mitzel said she would have to run it by the athletic director Mr. Hawkins since all my requests were for athletic facilities. I also called the Farms Public Safety Director Mr. Jensen, and left a voicemail cluing him in on the walk. I did not hear back so I will probably follow up with an email this week.

Thinking about the presentation that I will have to give at the end of the year, there are lots of different directions I could go. One idea I have right now is the importance of doing rather than just thinking, basically talking about how you can do something you've never done before and without any prior knowledge or experience still create something awesome. I think too often kids are nervous about trying something new or attempting something they don't know a whole lot about, they spend so much time talking about wanting to do it or researching it or wishing or reading about it but we need people to start DOING!

Another idea that I know I would be really passionate about is the importance of keeping a positive attitude and staying determined through everything. I don't know if this would tie in with the theme of learning as much, but in one of my posts a couple months ago I wrote about how becoming a more positive person has enriched my life overall, and has been key during this project, and I would love to share that in my presentation.

One final idea I have for my presentation is highlighting the importance of working towards a goal bigger than oneself and serving others. Volunteer work is incredibly fulfilling and rewarding and I think more people need to recognize the impact they can have, no matter how big the action.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Slowly but Surely

I am making slow progress on planning the walk and I am eager to see it all come together! One big change is the date, the walk is now going to be on May 24th. It turns out the "Color Me Rad" 5k in Detroit is the same day as the date I had picked previously, and since lots of people from my school did that last year I didn't want to potentially lose a lot of participation.

I talked to my AFSP person, Janice, on the phone on Friday and was able to ask her all the questions I had about the walk, including how I'll get reimbursed for expenses and general things about what I should be doing right now. She suggested I start recruiting people to work on a committee with me, as I won't be able to take on all of this alone! I'm going to possibly talk to Ms. Distelrath and see if Student Association could get involved, or I may just have to send out some emails and see who would be interested in helping out. As we get closer I'm also going to have to find people to volunteer the day of the walk.

I faxed the building use form to Janice and she signed it for me as AFSP's Central Divisions Director. I'm going to be turning that into the student activities office tomorrow and then hopefully the walk will officially start and and end at South.

Janice told me the resources missing from the walk manual like the sponsorship packet and PR stuff should be up within the week, and once it is I will be able to start advertising and contacting potential sponsors. Things are going pretty swell!