Top Fundraisers and “Best in Show”
Once again, World Link students placed in Central Iowa took part in Reggie’s Sleepout Des Moines. And once, again, our Central Iowa students were the top team fundraisers, raising over $7300 to support this great cause! This year’s overnight event took place October 27th-28th and in total raised $117,000 for homeless youth in Iowa; adding to their over $1.7 million since 2001.
The team also won “Best in Show” for creating a cardboard box structure best representing the following criteria: education/theme, creativity, comfort, and livability. Our students started brainstorming the box-structure idea back in September. Together they decided on the idea of replicating the Great Pyramids of Giza.
Why the pyramids? As they wrote on the Boxed-in Design Contest entry form;
“The Great Pyramids of Giza have stood the test of time, just like the story of Reggie and the legacy of Reggie’s Sleepout. We come from the four corners of the world to help continue that legacy. Just like the four corners of a pyramid proved unwavering support, the staff at IHYC and the money raised at Reggie’s Sleepout provides the same support to youth who are experiencing homelessness.”
Top World Link Student Fundraisers:
Congratulations to our top 5 fundraisers on our World Link team:
- Ana Kochuashvili (Georgia/IA) – $637
- Lida Asilyan (Armenia/IA) – $486
- Zhibek Kashkaeva (Kyrgyzstan/IA) – $400
- Diana Rogava (Georiga/IA) – $329.05
- Myadaggarav Chuluundorj (Mongolia/IA) – $300
Experiences and Lessons Learned
Branislav Nolin (Serbia/IA) wrote, “I loved the event! It was a great opportunity to spend time with other exchange students and World Link coordinators. Besides having fun and enjoying building the cardboard structures, my favorite part was fundraising and having the feeling of helping the people in need!”
Learning to fundraise was also important for Hazem Elezaby (Egypt/IA), “Learning how to fundraise is a great thing. Getting ideas from the other awesome students and now I have lots of ideas that I can use in my next time to fundraise either here or when I go back. Showing love and care for homeless people is a great feeling that is indescribable. Thank you so much for giving us this opportunity, it will never be forgotten.“
For Yevheniia Symakova (Ukraine/IA) fundraising for Reggie’s made her feel like she was giving back to her community in an important way, but she felt the awareness of the event benefitted her the most, “The most important benefit I gained from Reggie’s Sleepout is the understanding what homeless people feel and overcome every day. Such an event like Reggie’s Sleepout let you realize that you have so many things in your life to be thankful for.”
Nuraiym Nurgazieva (Kyrgyzstan/IA) summed up what she learned, “I learned how to raise money and it was not as easy as I thought. It’s the activity, which requires patience, leadership skill, being ready for everything, and willing to help people! When I slept in the box I felt, how it is – being homeless, not having the bed, where you could sleep, being calm and warm and enjoy your dreams. I finally understood in my own experience how to sleep on the ground and freeze. It is sad and unfair to those who are living like that every day! I’m so glad I could help them, even though it is not enough.“
Becoming Local Celebrities
The night was full of many memorable experiences. Students participated in a talent show. As the top team fundraiser, they were treated to a VIP dinner in Drake Stadium’s press box with a view of the entire event. Our students and staff were also interviewed for local news segments:
Congratulations to our Central Iowa students! Your hard work, creativity, and leadership skills earned you both these awards!