Kids Helping Kids: How to Launch a Student-Run Charity Event

This past May, five students at Milton Academy,  located in Milton, Massachusetts,  ran a charity Spikeball tournament raising hundreds of dollars in support of BOKS, proving that any one at any age can make a difference! Mark Pang, Emma Borggaard, Abby Borggaard, Emma Drisko, and Henry Taylor, aged 15 to 18, all part of the board of Milton Academy’s Roundnet Club, planned and executed a 2-day, 40-team event with over 80 participants and many spectators.

The BOKS team caught up with Mark, Emma B., Abby, Emma D., and Henry,  to thank them for their efforts and gain some best practices for other looking to run a charity event:

For those who don’t know, Spikeball is a popular beach game that, according to the Spikeball Website, is like if volleyball and foursquare had a baby. The game is played in a 2 v. 2 format and a player starts a point by serving the ball down onto the Spikeball net so it ricochets up at his opponents. The returning team has up to 3 hits between them (think bump, set, spike) to return the ball back onto the net. The rally continues until a team can’t return the ball onto the net within their three touches.

“We knew that Spikeball had become really popular at our school, so we knew we could use that for a good cause,” says Emma D.

The students had many charities to choose from when picking a benefactor for the event and so the BOKS team was honored when we heard we were the team’s nonprofit of choice. Why is BOKS a worthy cause, in the students’ eyes? Henry stated, “I think it’s really important for kids to get exposed to sports, and to have physical activity be a daily constant in young peoples’ lives.” Emma B. agreed, adding that, “Getting active and playing sports has been a huge part of my life. It has really helped me make close friends, and it also helped me focus on my schoolwork.”

Abby also understands the BOKS mission sharing that she supports BOKS, “because for me after school, having an activity and getting exercise before I start my schoolwork is really helpful for me to reset and start working again.”

Once the students decided upon a premise and a cause, their next step was spreading the word. “In the student center where kids hang out, we posted a big sign, sold T-shirts for a week leading up to the tournament, and sent out emails to the whole school” says Mark. The word certainly got around! The students reported that an influx of other students began to sign up for the tournament. “We set up a bracket beforehand and had 15 nets set up on the quad in the center of the school,” says Henry. “It took two days to get through all the teams!”

The students all agreed that finding a charity that you care about and executing an event is extremely achievable. We asked the students if they had any advice for other students who may want to do this in their own schools:

 “Going into it, it’s good to have the mindset that it’s really not that hard to set something like this up,” says Mark. “It seems kind of intimidating at first to try and organize it all, but it didn’t take long to get things together once we committed to the idea.”

Another important detail the students shared when setting up the event was making sure it involved an activity they knew other students would love.  “Spikeball was already a big thing at our school, so since there was a general interest, people signed up right away,” Henry said.

These five high school students put in the time and effort to achieve a fun reward for an excellent cause. Through their Spikeball success, they proved that any student – if they put their mind to it – can do the same.

Check out the Milton Academy Roundnet Club on Instagram: @SpikeballMA