When Cupertino High School’s Future Business Leaders of America chose a community service project for this year, Chapter Project Officer and CHS sophomore Diana Kruzman knew exactly what she wanted to do – aid an animal shelter.
“I have always loved animals and I wanted to help alleviate some of the problems they face in the Bay Area, so my goal was to aid an animal shelter,” said Kruzman. “Silicon Valley Animal Control Authority stood out as the shelter to help because of its fresh take on animal care – it’s a cageless shelter – and its acceptance of volunteers ages 13 and up. When school started for the year, members signed up to help with the project. We now have 28 members, all very dedicated and hardworking with a lot of compassion for animals, who meet every other Wednesday to discuss project goals and events. We have named our project “Project TAILS” for “Tino Animal Involvement League of Students.”
At the beginning of the year the group’s goal was to raise $500 for the shelter. Additionally, they planned to raise awareness of animal cruelty and homelessness in the community by obtaining 250 signatures from people pledging to be kind to animals. They also decided to volunteer at SVACA. To date, the students have exceeded their fundraising and signature goal and volunteered a combined 90 hours at the shelter.
“We have met the fundraising and awareness goals, raising $540 and [getting] over 250 pledge signatures,” said Kruzman. “Our new goals are $1,000 and 500 signatures. We use exact figures so we can measure the progress of our project and see if we are truly making a difference.”
To raise awareness, the students gave presentations in different classrooms throughout Animal Shelter Appreciate Week (November 5-9). On the last day, they set up a table at lunch to teach students about their cause. The students asked their peers to dip their hands in paint and leave handprints on a poster of a dog to show support. “Our goal with these two events was to inform our school about ongoing issues and urge them to take a stand and help in any way they could. While most high school students are vaguely aware that issues such as animal cruelty go on in the Bay Area, oftentimes they need to be reminded that these issues are large and important, and that there are ways to help,” said Kruzman.
To raise money, Project TAILS participants held a bake sale just after Halloween. The team created flyers and posted them around the school as well as baked all of the confections themselves. For two days, they sold outside of the CVS Pharmacy on Homestead Road and raised $350. For the second fundraiser, the students sold Christmas Cards. “All the cards were handmade and each was unique,” said Kruzman. “We sold the cards at school during lunch…and at CVS Pharmacy the day before Christmas Eve. We made over $180 from this event and donated the extra cards to SVACA with messages to the employees, thanking them for their hard work.”
On February 2, the group held a fundraiser at DeAnza Flea Market in Cupertino where they sold handmade stuffed animals, tote bags and other gifts as well as distributed brochures and pamphlets on the cause. “I believe that participation in the project encourages growth in leadership, responsibility, organization and other life skills…There is a sense of team unity,” said Kruzman. “From a business perspective, members learn more about how nonprofit organizations and fundraising work.”