My weekly column in the paper

Opinions from the Brickhouse 9-16

It happens every year,  the kids start school and you just about get the routine down when they come bouncing in the door all starry eyed and excited.  They babble on for about 20 minutes before you finally figure out what they are talking about.  It isn’t an audition for a school play, or even a presentation by the Department of Conservation.

No, it’s the dreaded fundraisers.  All of us parents know what I am talking about.  Those glossy sheets of paper featuring over priced goods. Your kids sell a portion, raise money and get a prize for their class or club.

Now I have nothing against fundraising.  In fact, I have taken part many times in fundraising events.  It can be a lot of hard and rewarding work.  Fundraising can teach kids a lot of things: preparation, how to handle money, how to approach people for sales, and how to budget time.  These are important skills for kids to learn. It will help them as adults.

What I do not like is how these fundraisers are presented.  The kids come out of these presentations with the belief that they will sell $100 or more of these things easily.  The kids hand over the sheets to parents who take them to work and try to convince the coworkers to buy things they might otherwise not purchase. Its a unspoken understanding, when other parents bring their fundraising papers you will buy from them. When you bring home the sheets to your child they look at you disappointed that you only sold $25 for them.

It cannot be expected for every child to sell $100 or even $50.  Many children are lucky to sell a few items to family.  I do know that some children are successful, but the majority  are not.  It does not help that we live in a small community where money is tight and most people just do not have the extra funds.

Perhaps we should re-think how we do fundraisers.  Get creative, think outside of the glossy pages and get our hands dirty.  What is wrong with picking up cans, walnuts, or having a garage sale?  You might not make a lot of money fast, but they work.


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