By Amanda Downy, Nealy Hale, Suraj Jain, and Cassie Rolnick
February’s a short month, but it’s also really significant in our world. Every February, the Change for Kids Junior Board hosts our annual fundraising gala – The Penguin Party – and we collectively get an opportunity to throw one of New York City’s most celebrated parties while doing a great service – helping change the lives of children in underserved public elementary schools in New York City.
The Junior Board membership consists of many different people, yet we’re all committed to community service and philanthropy. For many of us, the impact of our own education experience made working with an education-focused not-for-profit a perfect fit. During our childhoods, there were many teachers, principals, coaches, counselors, and librarians who made sure we were learning not just academic skills, but also interpersonal skills that would make a difference in our futures, along with making us better members of our communities.
Collaborating with CFK’s staff to present The Penguin Party is A LOT of work. It’s not just getting all the details right to make sure the attendees have an unforgettable party experience. It’s telling the Change for Kids story in a personal, emotional, impactful way to a wide variety of potential sponsors and donors. It’s thanking everyone for their support and commitment, and thanking them over and over. It’s asking our friends and families to donate or volunteer. It’s making sure that the work we do reflects well on us and the Change for Kids organization.
By the time the party starts – Friday, February 22nd, at 8:30pm, we are tired, but we’re happy, ready to get out on the dance floor and celebrate with everyone! When we eventually go home on Saturday morning, we know we’ve accomplished a mission that creates real change for kids who can most benefit from our continued support. And after a short recovery period, we’re back at the CFK office, asking, “What else can we do?” Because doing good feels great.
(The authors are the CFK Junior Board co-chairs and the Penguin Party event co-chairs.)