Challenge Accepted: Hope for Children Returns

As the summer draws closer, the rush to raise $6,800 is on. Spearheaded by recent alum Edward Fletcher, 14 students from CofC have decided to participate in Hope for Children’s Climb Kilimanjaro Project. At a school where bleach blonde and bikinis reign, Hope has managed to dig out the crème of the crop: ambitious students willing to climb Kilimanjaro. A diverse bunch, the students include Greek, non-Greek, and surprise, even a couple of boys.

Some of the 14 students have done some small charity work or mission trips, but to all, this trip is the opportunity of a lifetime. This program is all inclusive: study abroad, learning to fundraise, meeting new people, physically exerting, and charity work. Jake Pimental, one of the participants, pointed out a quote that encompasses exactly what this trip is supposed to do: “climb the mountain not so the world can see you, but so you can see the world.” So while some have the travel bug and others yearn for the adrenaline surge of climbing a mountain, every single one of them is looking to challenge themselves—to get out of their comfort zone. Hope for Children’s project lends itself perfectly to college students: they have just enough time, burgeoning ambition, and a thirst for new experiences.

Collectively, the group needs to raise around $100,000—and that was exactly the mindset in the room. Sitting in a small living room in an apartment on Pitt Street it was clear that the focus wasn’t on each person raising their individual amounts. Although some had already fundraised separately, the group dynamic was just that: they were in this together. There’s really nothing like raising a hundred grand or the prospect of climbing the highest mountain in Africa that’ll bond you with other people.

As college students, our fundraising experiences generally begin and end with bake sales. For the students participating in the Kilimanjaro Legacy Project, thinking outside the box has been indispensable. Among other things, their fundraising projects will include oyster roasts, throwing parties, and a charity ride for cyclists. The most lucrative and perhaps original fundraising event so far has been Kelley Ercole’s polar bear plunge. For those unfamiliar with the concept, a polar bear plunge is an event where people jump into freezing cold water in the middle of the winter for a charity. Over winter break Kelley organized the plunge at her shore house back in Maryland. Over 800 people attended, and she succeeded in raising $5,000. She attributes the success of her event to getting people involved rather than just asking for donations. Besides for jumping in the water, participants got t-shirts, free coffee and food, and Kelley even rented out a bar and had a reception there after the plunge. Although a daunting challenge to anyone on the outside, these students are proving beyond the shadow of a doubt how committed they are to the project.

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