GivingTuesday. The global day of giving. After Black Friday purchases and Cyber Monday orders, GivingTuesday provides an opportunity for us to pause, reflect, and give back to those around us. This day has become a day showing strong support for non-profits around the globe, including schools. Here at CA, though, we choose to use this day to look outside our campus, come together, and support our local community.
Last year, as a community, we provided more than 200 in-kind donations to the Diaper Bank of North Carolina. Our students, teachers, and staff brought in disposable diapers, feminine hygiene products, baby wipes, and adult incontinence items to support the local non-profit. I also sported an inflatable baby costume during Middle School drop-off.
This year, we are thrilled by the leadership taken on by three of our juniors – Sanjna Jotwani, Folu Ogundipe, and Neha Sharma – to connect with, learn about, and spearhead the efforts to support a local non-profit, Haven House. Cary Academy has partnered with Haven House for various endeavors in the past, but thanks to the passion of our students, we are thrilled to officially partner with them to drive support for local youths on GivingTuesday.
I have so many incredible things to say about the leadership and passion shown by our students, but instead, I would rather let them tell you, in their own words, why this is important to them and how everyone can be helpful.
The stars truly aligned when it came to our opportunity to partner with Haven House. Dr. McElreath, CA’s Experiential Learning Director, is friends with a member of Haven House’s team, and they introduced us to one of their new initiatives: The TeensHelpingTeens program. We were immediately interested, as the idea of being able to make an impact as a student had great appeal. As much as we appreciate the support from the adults around us, we loved the idea of being able to drive these efforts on our own – especially for others our age.
Haven House is a local organization focused on aiding teens and young adults who are experiencing homelessness. Youth homelessness may be caused by a variety of reasons: some are experiencing crisis at home due to abuse, family conflict, poverty, or inequitable access to housing. Some have been in foster care and, for myriad reasons, leave without a stable place to call home. Others are navigating mental health challenges and do not have access to the necessary resources needed to thrive. Whatever their situations, Haven House provides a safe–haven for youth—a place where they can find the freedom to realize their full potential.
As the holidays are approaching, it’s not only a time to reflect on the privilege that many of us at Cary Academy have, but it’s also an opportunity for us to use that privilege to help others.
Haven House fills a crucial need in our community, and we are beyond excited to be able to help them in any way we can. Sanjna, Neha, and I see how truly similar we are to those being helped by Haven House, and how things that are entirely outside of our and their control have led us down such markedly different paths.
This year, Haven House is not just asking us to donate to those teens and young adults. Instead, they are requesting donations to their TeenStore. At the TeenStore, teens can “shop” and give gifts to their own parents and legal guardians to show how grateful they are for them. It is a beautiful way for us to use our privilege to spread holiday cheer to not only these teens, but their whole families.
Many of us have never second guessed our ability to show our gratefulness to our families through gifts, yet so many cannot. We do not want to only recognize this; we want to act on it and empower Haven House youth to express their gratitude to those that have supported them.
To that end, Haven House has put together an Amazon wishlist comprised of small gifts, $10 – $20, that they need to stock their TeenStore. With a few clicks, you could transform the holiday season for another youth.
Will you join us in sending some joy their way? The Wishlist is open and accepting purchases now. We will continue to promote and support this cause through the week of GivingTuesday. If you’d like to participate with us, you can purchase directly from Amazon, or you can bring your gift to campus on December 1st or 3rd to be delivered to HavenHouse.
We hope that you will consider using Haven House’s Amazon wishlist and sponsoring a gift to ship to them. And we thank you for joining in us in our gratitude this season.
Sanjna, Folu, and Neha