Montessori School of Maui‘s philanthropy student committee has raised more than $15,000 for Maui non-profit organizations since its formation in 2008. This year, the student-run committee raised funds for the Boys and Girls Club of Maui and Leilani Farm Sanctuary in Haiku.
The Future Philanthropists committee at Montessori is comprised of two students from each elementary and middle school classroom. The participants volunteer to serve on the committee and participate in a full year of philanthropy education which includes learning about the many non-profit organizations serving Maui, participating in fundraising events and personally experiencing the joy of philanthropic giving.
Each year, the committee begins with a discussion on the meaning of philanthropy and its importance to the community. The students are then presented with information on numerous Maui non-profit organizations, including their mission statement, program details and the needs of the group.
The students study and discuss each organization, and in an effort to educate their peers, share the information with their respective classrooms. Once the in-class presentations are made, the committee members hold a vote for each classroom to determine which organizations will receive the fundraising proceeds for that year.
In the past seven years, the committee has raised funds for Women Helping Women, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Pacific Cancer Foundation, Ka Hale O Ke Ola Homeless Resource Center, Maui Humane Society, Children’s Justice Center, Maui Youth & Family Services, Imua Family Services, MAPA, Feed My Sheep, Keiki Kokua, A Keiki’s Dream and the Hawaiian Animal Rescue Foundation.
This year, the Boys and Girls Club and Leilani Farm were each presented with a check for $1,250 during an all-school assembly on May 21. The money was raised through two avenues this year – a fundraising dinner at Flatbread Company in Paia and a Walk-a-Thon on the Montessori campus.
“At the end of the school year, it is such a joy to see our participating students have a deep understanding of philanthropy,” said Rene Anderson-Vorfeld, Head of School. “The students often join the committee again and again as their enthusiasm to help our Maui community grows. It is a wonderful thing to watch.”
Graduating eight-grader Zofia Kayian (disclosure: she’s my daughter) agrees. She first joined the philanthropy committee in second grade and has requested to be a part of its continued efforts throughout her time at Montessori.
“Being a member of the philanthropy club has shown me how many organizations on the island actually need financial support from the community,” she said. “And when I was asked on my high school applications about my activities outside of the classroom, I was able to point to my participation in the philanthropy club. When I get older, I’d like to continue raising money for those in need.”
Photo of students at Leilani Farm Sanctuary courtesy Montessori School of Maui