Raising Money for Education with Yuda Bands

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Raising Money for Education with Yuda Bands

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From Wednesday, September 14 to Wednesday, September 28, junior Gabby Olinger, Activities Director of Bellaire Key Club, carried out the club’s first service project, Yuda Bands, for the 2016- 2017 school year.

Outside the multipurpose room set up in rows across the table are handmade bracelets, made in Guatemala, ranging from red to blue and from orange to green. After the bell rang, starting lunch, students gathered around the table to check out the 200 colorful bands on display.

“Officers and I stood outside the multipurpose room in order to advertise to passersby,” Olinger said. “We ended up selling about ¾ of the bracelets the organization sent us, so I’m proud of that.”

Olinger first learned of this organization when she went to the Key Club District Convention to meet up with all the Key Clubbers from Texas and Oklahoma clubs. This event allowed members to learn how to manage their home clubs, meet club members outside of their divisions, and experience forums and caucuses.

“I was introduced to this project at the annual district convention,” Olinger said. “They had a display table set up in front of one of the forum rooms and the bands caught my attention, so the club president and I looked into the project and decided to do it at Bellaire.”

Yuda is derived from the Spanish word, ayuda, which translates to help or aid. Yuda Bands is an international service project run by youths in hundreds of schools nationwide. Olinger had several reasons why she was interested in this project. Of the many, one particular detail of the project really drew her in.

“I’ve done a lot of volunteering activities in my community,” Olinger said. “However, I would like to help others on an international level, so I chose to carry out this project to raise money for a student’s career and help them pursue their career.”

The main goal is to fight poverty with education and opportunity. The money raised from the Yuda bands will be used to fund youth who don’t have the resources necessary for completing high schools in developing countries. Upon signing up for the program, Olinger was instructed to choose a student to sponsor.

“We narrowed down the choices to three students and we ended up choosing Precious Katanda as our student,” Olinger said. “She really stood out to me. She was the youngest of three children in her family and dreamed of becoming a neurologist. Another factor that made me pick her was that she won the first prize on the day of the African Child, which was commemorated in July of 2015. I thought that was pretty cool because she was only 13.”

Olinger set up a Skype video call to learn more about Katanda after getting approval from one of the experienced members of the Yuda Band team. Skype calls are organized by the Yuda Band organization to allow sellers to get to know the student they are sponsoring on a personal level.

“Members and I skyped Precious to learn more about her personality and her background story,” Olinger said. “After listening to her talk, I was more motivated to follow through with the project. I felt like her personality was relatable to students at Bellaire and thought that students would want to support her after hearing her story.”

After Olinger confirmed the project with the Yuda Band team members, she was informed of another benefit. Besides funding for Precious’ education, the project also indirectly gave a job to a Guatemalan.

“Once they received our order, the Yuda Band makers immediately started making the bracelets out of repurposed coconut shells and leather,” Olinger said. “They carved and painted intricate designs onto the bracelets and I found it really impressive. The bracelets were shipped to us in a matter of time and we started selling the day after.”

Although the club did not profit from this project, Olinger hopes the members utilized it as a learning experience. Olinger tried to incorporate a segment of Key Club’s motto by encouraging members to build themselves as they build their home, school and community.

“I expect that those who participated in the project took advantage of it. As they branch out to explain where the money goes and to advertise to not only their friends but also strangers for their support, the members gained communication and leadership skills from it.”

Personally, Olinger was glad that she followed through with the project. This allowed her to see a deeper insight on something one should be grateful for.

“In the last two weeks from this project, I gained knowledge about education privileges,” Olinger said. “People tend to take advantage of education and I hope to get people to appreciate it more.”

To find out more about Yuda bands, visit their website at www.yudabands.org.

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