Making Brighter Futures - AMP | Achieving Maximum Potential
 

Making Brighter Futures

 

AMP would like to thank Futures Alternative High School TOP for their awesome efforts to raise funding for the 2020 AMP Suitcase Drive!  Read about the event below...


 

Hello!  I wanted to give all a quick update re: the Future's Alternative High School TOP (Teen Outreach Program) event, "An Evening of Making Brighter Futures" that was held this past Saturday.  

 

About 200 people were there to show their support and so far, over $2,000 has been raised (with donations still coming in)!!! The bake sale alone raised over $400, general admission/entry $400 (not including the 118 canned goods donated) and the silent auction over $1,000.  In addition to this, total numbers are still being tallied from an evening fundraiser at Subway Sandwiches in Boone, where $1 for every foot-long and $.50 for every 6" was donated to the cause.  So many community members showed up to Subway that they literally ran out of bread twice (yes, Subway RAN OUT of bread)!  Various individuals have also mailed checks/donations into YSS w/ notes to be given to Futures TOP/AMP.  I am not aware of the current amount, but do know at least $400/$500 has been raised via mailed checks.  Another day/evening fundraiser is in the works for this Friday, March 13th at Jimmy's BBQ in Boone, where information will be provided to the customers in their food bags, table tops with information placed, and staff instructed to tell customers that anything they donate to Futures' cause will be matched by Jimmy's BBQ.   

 

By request of the youth at Futures, the funds raised are to be given to AMP (Achieving Maximum Potential) for their Suitcase Drive; filling suitcases with basic living supplies for Iowa's foster youth transitioning out of foster care.  During the initial stages of planning this event, the youth were very adamant that the community support their endeavors as much as possible, and to do so by donating their services/funds.  By donating services/funds/products, the overhead costs to pull off such an event would be low and allow the kids to give as much money back to other at-risk youth.  I'm very pleased to say the kids' goal was met!  The only overhead/extra money spent to execute this event was some last minute supplies needed and a business planning meeting/meal cost of a couple key adult volunteers.

 

In addition to raising funds and successfully pulling off the evening, another of the youth's goal was to raise local awareness of the need for support of at-risk youth in Iowa.  We discussed various tactics to accomplish this and media was decided upon as their target method to accomplish this goal …which they greatly succeeded in accomplishing!  Within about a month's time leading up to the actual event, they youth engaged in various media interviews, including:  KWBG Radio, WHO-TV 13, Boone News Republican/Ames Tribune Newspaper, The Pulse 101.7 Radio and KCCI Channel 8.  The youth also created a Facebook group and event and managed all other social media for promotion.  The entire school made a “field trip day” to the KCCI Channel 8 studio in Des Moines and can’t even begin to tell you how awesome this was.  Even the anchors were inspired by the kids and at the last minute (and unexpectedly) took their time to give them a VIP tour, let them watch a live news broadcast from the studio, meet some of their news icons and even see the storm chaser vehicle in the garage!  I don’t know as if I’ve ever seen the kids so giddy.  Another awesome thing re: this interview was when it was aired, during the noon hour, the televisions at the main Boone High School were turned to tune-in.  One of the kids from Futures was still talking about this the evening of the event. “…even the kids at the High School got to see us on the news and doing this …we’re FAMOUS!!!”        

 

100+ items were donated for the bake sale and more than 35 items for the silent auction (including a sealed/box Fire Kindle, new flute, bike, new pole chainsaw, etc.).  Enough pulled-pork, slider buns, chips, cookies, brownies were donated for 200 people.  Various sandwich bites, cheese spreads, tortilla rolls, veggie trays, and more were also prepared and donated. 

 

Pertaining to the actual event, three adult leads and one youth were responsible for the food, preparation and delivery.  One adult lead was responsible for the silent auction, however directed various youth with tasks to execute (such as set-up, delivering the items to the winner at the end of the night, etc).  One adult lead was assigned to the welcome table where the suggested donation, canned goods were collected, and tax deductible forms were available.  One adult lead was designated to the bake sale tables.  Eight walkie-talkies were distributed for communication purposes.  One was given to the youth emcee of the evening, one to another youth who was assisting with general management/crisis control, one at the welcome table, one with a food lead, one with the bake sale lead, one to security, one to the management of the entertainer/speaker and one walkie-talkie was assigned to me who was overseeing the event.  Multiple other adult volunteers and youth volunteers (from YSS, AMP and the church youth group) were present and assigned various management and/general tasks to oversee. 

 

Each adult lead was provided with a “skeleton agenda” that displayed the evenings events down to the minute and indicated who/what was the lead of each event and/who was involved for the given event/time.  The youth emcee was ultimately responsible for executing the agenda and keeping all on time.  I’m very proud to say he was awesome and succeeded (literally down to the minutes …only a couple of reminders were made via the walkie-talkies J ). 

 

The food was delivered in the foyer about 6:40P and the doors to the main room/sanctuary (where the program would be held, silent auction and bake sale) opened at 6:45.  The emcee first took stage at 7:10 to give a general welcome.  With this said, I also instructed the youth emcee to make this his own delivery, …his own unique take on things.  I had provided him with emcee notes based on the agenda and based on what I would say if I was an emcee.  However, it was up to him to make it his own.  I was pleasantly surprised to see at 7:10 ALL the Futures youth on stage (vs. only the emcee as planned) to make the initial welcome introduction.  Each youth passed the microphone to introduce themselves and then, the emcee, continued with his script and invited everyone to pick up their bid number at the welcome table, visit the silent auction, bake sale, to mingle for the next 20 minutes and prepare for the upcoming program.  At about 7:30 the emcee encouraged folks to wrap up their conversations and take a seat for the program.  At this time, the emcee also promoted a table in the back of the room from Four Oaks.  He encouraged those who were interested in learning more about fostering to visit the table where a foster parent and foster youth were present to answer their questions.   At about 7:35 he welcomed up two youth representatives from AMP to talk about their program and explain where the funds being raised would be going and for what.  After the AMP presentation the emcee briefly thanked the sponsors of the evening and then welcomed up all the students of Futures Alternative High School.  Each student made brief prepared remarks before presenting an award (that was engraved/donated by a local trophy shop) to their Principal/Director of Futures.  The award was called, “The 2020 Making Brighter Futures Award” and was accompanied by a framed, laminated poster of the event signed by all the youth from Futures TOP.  After much applause and an emotional group hug, the emcee introduced a youth from Futures who was responsible for seeking out/coordinating and booking the guest entertainment/speaker for the evening.  After a brief introduction from the student, Christian rapper/musician, Johnathan Stone was welcomed to the stage where he opened with a musical number, gave a 10 minute testimony and closed with two more musical selections.  The emcee returned to the stage to again ask for applause for Johnathan and encourage those attending to continue socializing, to eat and get their last minute bids in for the auction and pick up bake sale items.  At 8:45 a final call was given for the auction and shortly after the auction was closed and people told to visit the welcome table to find out if they had won.  Futures youth would then retrieve the winner’s items and give it to them with a big “thank you” and “congratulations!”  Johnathan Stone and other Futures youth made their way to the foyer where they thanked people for coming, signed autographs, and soaked up their success of the evening.

 

WHAT A NIGHT!  This truly took a village to pull off and the best part, the kids not only felt and experienced this, but were a part of this village and made it happen!  Can’t even begin to tell you how proud of themselves they are.  I even witnessed some tears at the end of the night.  I also spoke with a reporter today who told me she’s working with one of our youth to follow up and provide information to them because they now want to go into promotions/event management/media! 

 

Thanks to all who supported and was a part of this one way or another.  More yet to come, but for now …this is the recap of the kids’ smashing success!  (and help us all!  They’ve already talked to me wanting to do another event for Christmas.  I told them, “one step at a time children, one step!”)    

 

-Rusty

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