The Key Club of Eastern Senior High School saves lives by playing basketball, netting more than US$1,000 for The Eliminate Project at its annual three-on-three tournament.
“Holiday Hoops is one of our biggest events of the year,” notes Rachel Leise, president of the Voorhees, New Jersey, club. “It’s a great way for other students to join us in saving lives. Plus, it’s a fun way to raise money to help eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus.”
The most recent tournament was the third one organized by the Key Club. Its members bounced around several ideas for raising money before settling on the tournament.
“We knew we wanted to do some sort of sports tournament that could maximize the amount of student participation,” notes Faculty Advisor Bradley Trinkner. “Basketball has a wide appeal and was fairly easy to setup logistically. Half-court basketball allows multiple games to be played at once and in quick intervals so you’re able to move through the bracket fairly easily.
”To promote this year’s tournament, the club produced a 90-second video explaining The Eliminate Project and encouraging students to help the club raise money by playing in the tournament. The video was shown during the school’s daily announcements for two weeks prior to the tournament in mid-December.
As a result, 16 teams participated in the tournament and more than 100 students showed up to cheer and watch the games. Money was raised through entry fees ($30 per team) and through sales of pizza and snacks during the event.
“It was always our goal to donate to The Eliminate Project,” Trinkner says. “Almost all of our fundraising is geared to the cause. It’s a New Jersey District project, and we wanted a big event to bring in as much money as possible in one shot.”
The club advisor and its president encourage others to stage similar events. They suggest interested clubs follow these steps:
- Keep the registration fees reasonable. Allow spectators to enter for free and make money from concessions.
- Draw up a waiver to protect the club in case someone gets injured. (For athletic events and other Kiwanis-family activities, assign a safety coordinator to review coverage under Kiwanis International’s insurance and to take steps to avoid accidents and reduce liability.)
- Target everyday students who like basketball but aren’t on the school’s basketball team.
- Recruit a student DJ to play music throughout the tournament.
“The Eliminate Project has a clear goal and the end is so close,” Trinkner stresses. “We’ll be able to cross another disease off the list and save babies who otherwise would not have healthy childhoods. It’s an easy cause to rally behind and one where we are already seeing the benefits.” — Dick Isenhour