Serving in the State Service Project


Serving in the State Service Project

by Sunjuna Chalasani, Vice-President of Membership

Getting involved in the state service project might seem like a daunting task. There are so many possibilities of what your chapter can do to give back to those who have served (or are serving). Figuring out what you can do to make an impact can be difficult, but worry no more -- here are some ways to get involved in this year’s state service project!

This year we are challenging all of our fellow Michigan BPA members to help fundraise $1,000 dollars to donate to the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA). We are also challenging our members to spend 2,000 total hours serving veterans in the community. While these may seem like lofty goals, we strongly believe that with your participation it can be an easy feat!

One of the easiest ways to get involved is by raising money. There are so many ways to do so and you can get your whole school involved. Hosting an event like a benefit concert or walkathon can do just that.

Walkathons are the perfect fundraising idea for those who serve because they’re active and healthy, which mirrors the lifestyle of our soldiers, servicemen, and veterans. Generally, walkathons ask participants to secure donation pledges based on the distance they’re able to walk. To encourage more people to get involved, try contacting local businesses to donate items and set up a tables around the track for concessions and other miscellaneous things. Business love to participate in community events as it only helps their image. Ideally, all profits would go to the cause.

The same applies to benefit concerts. In my experience, the hardest part of planning a concert is simply finding a location; however, someplace as common as a school auditorium or gym should do the trick. As with any concert, you need the performers. You can enlist the help of local artists and bands to determine the line-up. Ask around for people who love to sing, dance, or even just do stand-up comedy. Reach out to other organizations and school clubs who might want to partake in this. Charging a simple fee to watch the concert and selling concessions are easy and efficient ways to raise money. However, don’t forget to set up a general donation table to accept other contributions throughout the night.

Charity auctions can also be a fast-paced and energetic way to raise more money and interact with your community members face-to-face. Ask for charity auction items from local businesses and organizations. Ideally, try to get as many items donated for close to nothing, so that you can work to raise as much as possible for the cause. Find a volunteer to be the auctioneer and spread the word through the school about this exciting event. Make sure that everyone is aware of the rules of your charity auction beforehand. The great thing about charity auctions is that people will walk away with unique items and experiences while you can raise more money for your cause. Veteran’s Day is November 11th, so make sure to take advantage of that.

There are other alternative ways to help without going the traditional route of fundraising. Your chapter could host a furniture donation drive to collect furnishings for veterans transitioning into housing in your community allowing you to see the impact you are making in the lives of others directly! Another way to help out includes organizing a back to school drive to distribute backpacks and school supplies to military children. As the seasons start to change and the air gets colder, making blankets is a great way to show your appreciation. Even something as simple as making cards for local veterans and current members of the U.S. forces in your community can do so much!

Whatever your chapter decides do, remember who and what you are doing it for. There are over 635,000 veterans in the state of Michigan alone. This accounts for 22% of the veteran population in the United States. These are the men and women who have dedicated their efforts to this country for you; the least we can do is appreciate them. :)

Maurice S. Henderson