Class float proceeds benefit teen-led, non-profit organization
After visiting a homeless shelter at eight years old, she discovered poverty in her own city. After her encounter at the Fresno Rescue Mission, Kaitlin Riffel founded Kids On A Mission (KOAM). The organization seeks to empower student leaders through serving in their communities.
Fresno Christian supports the faith-based organization, KOAM during the 34th annual Homecoming through collecting donations for the teen-led, non-profit. Last year, student leadership introduced “Homecoming for Humanity”, a theme that introduced a non-profit element to each class’s float. Classes competed to bring in the most donations for their particular organization.
“Our theme this year for homecoming was Disney, so we wanted to support an organization that involved children,” Kalugin said. “Kids on a Mission is teenager’s supporting teens and kids. It’s really important to build up people our age. I was on the Kids On A Mission team for a while in fifth and sixth grade, but then I came to Fresno Christian and got too busy.”
According to the Kids On A Mission website, the organization aims to develop leadership and communication skills in students through service projects. Leadership advisor, Robert Foshee believes the campus can positively impact the community through supporting KOAM.
“It would be great to raise $1000 for Kids On A Mission, but however much the students bring in will be a blessing to the organization,” Foshee said. “Last year the student body raised almost $2000. We’ll see what this year holds. Last year was really neat seeing a lasting impact that each class could leave with support of a non-profit group. In the past, classes would build floats and the all the materials would be thrown away after homecoming. With supporting a non-profit, we can see something that lasts a lot longer.”
In 2013, the KOAM team raised $76,000 to build a playground for Rescue the Children. In 2015, the group donated over 1,000 backpacks and school supplies distributed to Chicago, IL, Kerman, CA, and North Fork, CA. The team also embarked on various missions trips to South America.
Kalugin recalls helping the KOAM engage with children and building a playground for the Fresno Rescue Mission.
“I saw my work (with Kids On A Mission) impact the community just by visiting the homeless shelters and getting to play with the kids,” Kalugin said. “You see homeless people on the streets, but you don’t realize they have a place to go. Seeing the homeless people who have taken this initiative to move in and accept all this help, it was really cool to be that help they need.
Founder of Kids On A Mission Riffel shares the need she sees in the Fresno community. She looks to the Bible verse about youthfulness, I Timothy 4:12 as encouragement to continue her work.
“There is a huge need,” Riffel said. “There are so many people here that live in the same city that we do and that have so little in comparison to us. The little that you have can significantly bless someone else, whether that be talking to them about Jesus, buying them lunch, or raising money to help them get clean water, it all matters.
“Ever since I was young, I constantly was told that I was ‘too young’ to make a difference,” Riffel continued. “Apparently, I couldn’t do anything in this world because I was ‘simply’ a teenager…but oh boy were those people wrong.”
KOAM hosts bi-monthly initiative get-togethers, where students train to become better leaders, discuss future goals and relish past accomplishments. KOAM also embarks on several mission trips and projects throughout the year.
Students seeking volunteer opportunities or service projects can reach Kids On A Mission via their website.
For more articles, read News Engagement Day recognizes the importance of news involvement. For more on homecoming week, read Homecoming Happily Ever After: Goofy’s Wide World of Sports Tuesday.Follow The Feather via Twitter @thefeather, Instagram @thefeatheronline and Facebook @thefeatheronline.
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