BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — It’s normal for DECA students to find projects that give back to their community, but what Maumee High School DECA students have selected this year is a bit above and beyond the norm.
Last year, Evelynn Schneider attended the DECA International Career Development Conference and noticed the Social Impact Leader of Tomorrow Challenge, which allowed four team members to participate. She immediately texted her friends, who made it a goal to complete the challenge this year.
The challenge requires participating teams to develop a fundraising campaign that benefits the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation (NPCF). The teams must include a fundraising activity as well as a social media component, and the students are required to submit a video to explain what they’ve done.
For Schneider, the challenge was a perfect fit with what she’s wanted to do within the community. Her younger brother was diagnosed with a form of cancer as a toddler.
“As I’ve grown up, I’ve seen the impacts that pediatric cancer has had on my family, not just my brother, but also me and my mom and my dad,” Schneider said. “I’ve always felt inclined to help research toward pediatric cancer, so when I found out about the Social Impact Leader of Tomorrow through DECA at ICDC last year, I was really intrigued with it.”
Her fellow members were eager to help with the project, too, and their advisor, Robin Bruderly, was quick to guide the students on their projects.
“This is not the traditional project because it’s a campaign that goes straight to nationals; however, they are also doing a project with it that will be a typical project.” Bruderly explained. “They’re doing the campaign and then also using that to do a state project, so they will compete at states as well.”
There are six students named to the projects: Schneider, Sam Archambeau, Avery Lewis, Disha Patel, Courtney Crawford and Peyton Horak. They’re getting help, though, from every member of their DECA chapter.
“We’re all doing chapter projects, but it’s not just the three people working on that project. It’s our whole class, our whole community,” Lewis said. “We thought the best way was to not have just three people in charge of it, but having six people, and it’s working out much better. It’s worked out very well that we can all work together.”
In addition to their work with the NPCF, the students are working with the Panther Pride Foundation to help raise funds for the Performing Arts Center.
Together, the students are learning about using social media along with engaging the community, working with local businesses and giving back. With all of this, they’re just trying to make a difference, Evelynn said.
“I feel like the main goal of both of our projects is just to help people out,” Horak said.
It’s a sentiment all six students share.
To help, their goal is to raise $4,300 for the NPCF, but in addition to donating to the foundation, they will also be donating to #TeamIzzy, in honor of MHS student Izzy Yancy.
“We recently had a freshman named Izzy diagnosed with leukemia, so that was another reason to do this because now Maumee has a deeper connection to this,” Lewis said. “Part of the proceeds will definitely go to her family. We just want to bring the Maumee community together.”
A portion of the funds will be raised at a Zumba-thon on Saturday, January 28 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. with doors opening at 5:00 p.m.
Those interested are encouraged to stop by the Maumee High School gym that evening and prepare to move with instructor Monica Villarreal.
Tickets can be purchased at the door for $15.00 for those 19 and up, $10.00 for those 10-18 and $8.00 for those 9 and under. Cash is recommended for each purchase, but a link to the fundraising page will be available.
“There will also be snacks and waters available for purchase,” Schneider said.
The students are hoping the Zumba-thon will get them to their $4,300 goal by Tuesday, February 7, when their video is due. They will, however, keep the donation link open after that in an effort to continue increasing the funds raised.
Ultimately, this event and the projects they’re working on are a way to continue bringing the community together and raise awareness of the cause, the students said.
“We’re a community and we’re going to help out everyone that we can,” Archambeau said.
To keep track of the Maumee DECA chapter’s efforts, the students can be found on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook at Maumee DECA. The donation link is also available on the social media pages.