Q&A with Miles for Merry Miracles project manager Teresa Hebert

Natalie Clare

Teresa Hebert Q&A

  1. What is the organization and how long has FC raised money for this charity?
    1. “Miles for Merry Miracles was founded in 2008 by FC sophomore class president Nick Hebert, who at that time was working on his Eagle Scout Project. In 2009, Nick and fellow students Ryan Smith and Kendra Mifflin, who were on the first M4MM leadership board, also served on the inaugural Executive Board of Dance Marathon.”
  2. What fundraisers do you do to raise money?
    1. “Miles for Merry Miracles does not consider itself to be raising money. Instead, it works primarily to partner with Angel Tree Sponsors to provide gifts of clothing, shoes, toys and food to create a miraculous experience to children who might not otherwise receive these blessings. Our youth leadership board is based on an application and interview process. They receive training and have even been successful at writing grants for over $35,000. Those funds have been used to offset the costs to host runs, shopping sprees, dinners, etc. that have served over 7,150 meals, provided over 40,000 non-perishable food items, purchased craft supplies and photo supplies for Santa Pictures at the Christmas dinner, and host other large scale community service projects.”
  3. How much money have you raised in the past?
    1. “Considering the average spent on the Angel Tree gifts and costs associated with the large scale service projects, the value would exceed well over $900,000. Additionally, more than 21,000 volunteer hours have been logged. After this year, Miles for Merry Miracles will have collaborated with the community to provide gifts to nearly 5,000 Angel Tree and Kentucky Refugee Ministries children. We have also provided gifts to children at Haven House, Wayside Christian Ministries, Family Ark (Foster Children)  and provided toys for Norton Children’s Hospital. We have also partnered with other youth led, youth serving non-profits like Makenzie’s Coat Closet where we collected over 1,000 gently used coats We also are partnering with Brianna’s Silly Socks this year.”
  4. What is your goal for this year?
    1. “Our goal is to provides gifts of clothing, shoes, toys, and food to 350 children and their families. Through a partnership with Salvation Army and some of our sponsors, we will also provide about 100 new bikes, one to each of the families we are serving.”
  5. How have you helped the community? What specific stories?
    1. “As a result of a food drive in Dec. 2016 to benefit M4MM families being served, about 8,500 food items were collected. Unfortunately, 3,466 of those items were packs of Ramen Noodles. M4MM youth leaders set out to partner with a girl scout who was working on her Gold Award. Anna Perkins, a then senior at Floyd Central, led us to educate our community that unhealthily food is not what should be donated during a food drive. Good to Grow Green, another youth inspired alliteration, was launched. Good to Grow Green (G2GG) promotes student responsibility, healthy eating and community service by setting up gardens in the classroom. These gardens are not ordinary crops; they are vertical aeroponic gardens provided by the local student leaders who created this nationally-recognized, non-profit project. This earth-friendly approach to gardening uses less water and space than soil gardens, without the use of chemicals like herbicides and pesticides. Plus, we can grow our plants year-round and 30 percent faster. We were fortunate to place in the top 10 of almost 300 projects nationwide and received an all expense paid trip to Chicago to compete for a $10,000 prize. We did not win the top prize in terms of money. We did receive some top notch training from industry leaders. Since our first garden was installed in April of 2017, we have taught about 500 students in 25 NAFCS classrooms about food, nutrition, gardening and philanthropy. There are currently two gardens in Ms. McGowan’s class at Floyd Central. Her FBLA students are learning about branding, presentation skills, cost analysis, research, and development among other business skills.”

Dance Marathon continues fundraising

By Natalie Clare

When: February 23, 2019

Never sit down, never stop dancing. Throughout the night of dance marathon, hundreds of FC students dance for those who cannot.

“Dance Marathon is an organization for Riley Children’s Hospital that raises money to support research, help support families while they are there,” said FCDM sponsor Ashley Faith. “Dance Marathon at Floyd Central is just a fundraising opportunity to help move in that bigger direction.”

FCDM does not just give during the holiday season, but year round. Medical bills and hospital stays can build up. So, Dance Marathon raises tens of thousands of dollars to help families focus on what is important: the quality of their child’s life.

It all started with Ryan White, said Faith. According to the Health Resources & Services Administration, Ryan White was diagnosed with AIDS after a faulty blood transfusion in December, 1984. Ryan was subjected to AIDS-related hatred and his story went viral. The first Dance Marathon was held in honor of Ryan White.

“It was mainly a college thing, and it sort of branched out from there,” said Faith. “Floyd Central Dance Marathon is a part of IU Bloomington. Although, they all go together in the end.”

Over the years, FCDM has also had a growing monetary goal. This year, Faith said the school goal is $75,000. Having this goal gives fundraising a finish line, so students should set individual goals to help with their fundraising.

“My personal monetary goals this year is $2,500,” said FCDM executive member Kelby Rippy. “That would put my individual total raised funds at $7,000 over the last four years.”

It is easy to get caught up in the money aspect of fundraising. Sometimes, when we take a step back and remembering who is being fundraised for, we are refocused on our main goal.

“[Dance Marathon] is not a dance, like many people think it is,” said Faith. “It’s meant to bring awareness and raise money. That’s why we bring the Riley families in, so that the kids from our school can see who this is impacting. They can put a face and a name to where their money is going.”

Because Faith’s daughter was a premie, she connects on a personal level to the organization. Having her own experiences is a motivator, so she wanted to participate in a group that helped other families going through what she had.

FCDM has raised over $500,000 in total from all the years of fundraising. This money has helped many families in the hardest of times.

“Giving back to the community is important to me because it allows me to help someone other than myself,” said Rippy. “I love having the opportunity to give to someone who needs it.”

Christmas movie reviews: Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer

By Abby Chovan

With just a glow of a red nose and the beginning chimes of sleigh bells, it does not take much to recognize the iconic 60s claymation Christmas film, Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer. The film was one of the first of its kind for the time. Although clay stop and go had existed before, never had it existed in such lengths like this before.

The whole film begins with a young Rudolph who discovers his odd quirk of a light up nose. However, his joy is short lived when the other reindeer begin to pick on him for it. When he believes he will never be able to fly for Santa, he flees. Rudolph bands together with two other misfits, Hermey the dentist elf and Yukon Cornelius, the failed gold miner. Together the three go on a journey to find their place as something other than a misfit and learn important lessons along the way.

Rudolph teaches its audience lessons as well. The film holds strong sentiments of anti-bullying morals. One of the whole themes of the movie is that what some people might find as an odd or weird quirk could end up being something that another views as the best part about themselves and that for this reason is detrimental to put others down. The film also teaches and promotes the ideas of self-love and being proud of who you are. This is conveyed when the three misfits, as well as the group of misfit toys, find their way into a new more meaningful path.

It also teaches that standing up for someone takes a lot of courage. Clarice, a female reindeer that is friends with Rudolph, stands up for him despite knowing what others think of him. She finds him as a nice friend and does anything she can throughout the movie to help him feel better.

Overall, the film wowed audiences, especially because of the detailed character design and length of the film as well as its role model qualities for children. Although the movie only lasts a short 50 minutes in comparison to today’s films, it still holds up as very hard work and a great movie that lasted the test of time.

Get Into The Holiday Spirit With The Arts: National Art Honor Society Hosts Annual Art Sale Tomorrow

By Hannah Tarr

It can be hard to find unique Christmas presents for everyone. What can be bought for someone who has everything? In this second of a series of stories exploring FC’s arts raising holiday cheer, National Art Honor Society’s annual art sale this Thursday is full of great presents for anyone’s friends and family.

Artists in National Art Honor Society (NAHS) have been preparing pieces for the sale since October, after they painted windows in downtown New Albany for Harvest Homecoming. Each member is required to make three pieces, and they work on them in meetings after school.

“We meet every Tuesday and Thursday for about an hour after school,” said NAHS historian senior Joelie Hedgespeth. “We do a bunch of different mediums, we do paint, we do clay, we are making slime, I think, at some point. We just have a bunch of different types of art so we’ve just been preparing each kind. So everybody just works on their own projects while we’re here.”

In past years, walking into the sale has felt like walking into a painter’s gallery. But paintings do not sell very well, and NAHS has seen requests for a variety of other things.

“Paintings are easy, and they can be really quick, it’s always really easy to paint Christmas-y stuff,” said NAHS president senior Caitlyn Daggy. “But a lot of people every year ask for things like mugs, trays, handmade stuff that they can use or put on their coffee tables. Because not a lot of people hang up paintings anymore. People want something they can use, or it’s nice to look at, kind of like an antique, or just a little crafty, that someone likes to look at.”

NAHS has responded to this popular demand, and focused this year on creating usable things.

“We have a lot of stuff that is extremely usable,” said Daggy. “Like, for example, we’re making a whole lot of mugs this year. Or it’s just stuff that’s nice to put on the mantle. Lots of cool gift ideas, like if you’re looking for something for a friend or a family member that you’re kind of not that close to, a nice homemade, handmade thing is really nice to give them. Mugs, trays, vases– vases are really popular in here, we’re painting vases. Flower pots are also a big deal right now… It’s really different from our past few years, and I feel like we’re going to have a lot better turnout this year.”

Art classes at FC have prepared the artists to be able to tackle this variety of mediums with skill.

“This year we’ve moved into clay, and it really helps with a lot of us having taken Ceramics last year, so we know how to help each other,” said Hedgespeth. “And so that’s what we’re just trying to move on, to make stuff that people might actually want, because a lot of people don’t really hang up paintings that much anymore. So we’re just trying to do stuff that people like, just everyday use things.”

These everyday things are all things that could be purchased from a store, but buying them handmade from artists makes them a much more special gift.

“It’s a lot of stuff that people are making, you know, and everything’s homemade, so that’s always good,” said sophomore Blair Smith.

Smith created a dozen bowls from peppermint bark for the sale, because the art sale does not only sell art: there is also a bake sale aspect.

“We also sell a lot of baked goods as a plus, so like if art’s not really your thing, it’s kind of like a mini bake sale, too,” said Daggy.

Hopefully, the combination of beautiful art pieces, useful gifts, and baked goods will lead to a great turnout at the sale and the artists’ efforts will pay off. They have put lots of hard work into the sale, and learned a lot in the process.

“[I’ve learned to] plan ahead. And don’t forget stuff- write notes,” said Daggy, who organizes NAHS and sends Remind texts to the artists to remind them about upcoming meetings. “Because whenever it gets down to it, the time crunch is real. And you just need to keep it all together.

Other artists have learned to appreciate how much hard work it takes to create the pieces for this sale.

“I have learned that it is hard to come up with a bunch of different ideas, honestly. Because it takes a long time to do one piece, so it’s hard to just fit everything into a specific time limit. You hear three pieces and you don’t think it’s that hard, but it’s actually pretty time consuming,” said Hedgespeth.

Their effort and planning will be put to the test during the sale on Thursday. If all goes well, they will sell all sorts of art and make even more money. Where will these profits go?

“It goes primarily back into the club, for us to buy more supplies, or afford to do other fundraising projects,” said Daggy. “We have to get money to afford face paints for Dance Marathon, and also to apply for other things like Harvest Homecoming. We also put a portion of the money back into the secondary art show fund, so it goes toward the cash prizes.”

NAHS will be in the art room after school until 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 6 selling their art for a great cause. Especially if you are already at school for Fantasia, they hope you will stop by and purchase something for yourself or the loved ones on your list from these talented artists.

“I think people should come to the sale because it’s high schoolers’ work, and I think it’s unique,” said Hedgespeth. “And I feel like a lot of people would like it, because we’re actually low-key talented!”