Upper School HOPE Committee Raises $1,256 for Local Charities

Students in Oak Knoll School’s Upper School dressed comfortably while helping others during Oak Knoll School’s annual Service Day on Thursday, October 28, and at the same time, raised $1,256 to benefit three nonprofits in need.

Oak Knoll’s Service Day fell on the same day as the school’s first of four HOPE Committee (Helping Other People Everywhere) fundraisers of the academic school year. Each HOPE fundraiser typically serves four different charities and, ultimately, benefits up to 16 charities per year. The HOPE Committee serves as a clearinghouse for all OKS fundraising, collections, drives and all other monetary requests. Due to the ongoing COVID-19, while the HOPE Committee is unable to host its usual bake sales, they were able to sell bagels which added to their fundraising totals.

Earlier last week, students learned about three nonprofits in need during General Homeroom. Students, faculty, and staff then contributed $5 to dress out of uniform or casually.

Stephanie Almozara, Upper School Theology Department Chair, Director of Campus Ministry, and the HOPE Committee adviser, said since the first HOPE Week coincided with the school’s annual Service Day, it provided a new way for students to contribute to their community.

“As the liaison to the HOPE Committee, I am continuously in awe of the passions of our students,” said Almozara. “I appreciate greatly learning from them and knowing that our community has so much to gain from the good our students want to enact in the world.” 

HOPE Committee Coordinator Trinity Koetje ’22 of Westfield said that the Oak Knoll community has been preparing for the first HOPE Committee fundraiser for a while.

“I am so excited to see everything come together!” Koetje said. “Service is so important this year because people are severely disadvantaged in the wake of the pandemic. Now that things are opening, it is our responsibility to give people support they need to get back on their feet.”

The proceeds from last week’s HOPE Committee fundraiser were donated to the following three charities:

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS)
The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is an organization that aims to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. Through different programs and opportunities, LLS has been able to change the lives of millions of different cancer patients and create incredible breakthroughs in the medical world. Students of the Year is a program LLS created, focused on having high school students compete to raise the most money for cancer research. Not only does that money improve the quality of life of every patient, but the program also gives high school students different opportunities to learn about leadership, development, etc. The money raised by HOPE week will be donated directly to LLS to fund more groundbreaking cancer research.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a book gifting program that mails free, high-quality books to children from birth to age five, no matter their family’s income. After launching in 1995, the program grew quickly. First books were only distributed to children living in Sevier County, Tennessee where Dolly grew up. It became such a success that in 2000 a national replication effort was underway. By 2003, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library had mailed one million books. It would prove to be the first of many millions of books sent to children around the world.

St. John’s Soup Kitchen
St. John’s Soup Kitchen has one mission and that is feeding the hungry. For more than 40 years St. John’s Soup Kitchen has been providing food to those who have none in the Newark area. Inspired by the Spirit of Christ, St. John’s family seeks to serve persons who struggle with mental health issues, addictions, homelessness, and poverty in the City of Newark. St. John’s seeks to provide support for this community through addressing the developmental requirements of individuals in need. 

For more information about Oak Knoll’s HOPE Committee please visit https://www.oakknoll.org/upper-school/student-life/clubs/.