High school students often look for great opportunities to give back to their communities and to people who need help.
This year, the Western and Central New York Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is giving local teenagers the opportunity they have been looking for.
The local chapter of the LLS is starting a new program called "Students of the Year" to give area teens the chance to raise money and learn about business, all to support blood cancer research.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is a national organization that funds research for blood cancer and supports patients and their families.
Amanda Harley, the "Students of the Year" campaign manager in Buffalo, said the organization has donated $550,000 into Western and Central New York, with a total of $1 billion invested nationally to date for research alone. Now they are looking to have high school students help their campaign.
The "Students of the Year" program rules are simple. Over a seven-week period from March 22 to May 10, students will work to raise as much money as they can. Some students hold fundraising events, others reach out to friends and family, but all work incredibly hard to raise money for a worthy cause.
All of the teens raising money do so confidentially. The amount of money that they raise is not shared publicly or with other teens who are also running campaigns.
Students are encouraged to set a minimum goal of at least $10,000.
This goal can seem quite hefty, but students are not alone in their campaigns. Every teenager creates a team of friends and family members of many ages. There are team managers, treasurers, and many other possible positions for team members. The student running the campaign is essentially the boss of their team.
The staff at LLS are also committed and help every student throughout the seven-week fundraiser.
At the end of the seven-week period, a grand finale is held for all of the students who participated.
The student who raises the most money not only wins the competition, but also earns a $2,500 scholarship to the college or university of his or her choice.
Although this fundraiser is new for the local chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, it has been very successful for LLS in other cities in recent years.
In 2017, the "Students of the Year" program raised $6 million nationwide, according to Harley. The directors of the "Students of the Year" program in Buffalo hope they can find similar success this year.
For any students who are interested in running a campaign for "Students of the Year," an application must be filled out. Applications can be found at www.studentsoftheyear.org. The applications only take a few minutes to fill out, and the questions are easy to answer.
Running a campaign for "Students of the Year" is not only an honor, but it helps so many patients and families.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is dedicated to supporting those who need it, and with the help of teenagers here in Western New York, the cure for blood cancers can come sooner rather than later. Apply today to start your "Students of the Year" campaign.
Sarah Crawford is a sophomore at Nardin Academy.