by Claire Hefti
Hello! My name is Claire, and I’m a part of the Fab 5. The Fab 5 is a small United Way Youth Venture Team who fundraise for the Apple Valley Center Nursing Home, and other local organizations. With the money raised, we help the activities department and get to have little party’s and game nights with the residents. Our team has been raising money for Apple Valley for almost five years! After several years, our name got pretty big at our location, so we started getting other organizations that reached out to us. We have helped Shirley Friendship get Christmas presents for the families that couldn’t afford them, and for the Devens Women’s Transitions Shelter we put together cleaning baskets for them. We have also donated some money to the Sterling Animal Shelter, and to the Class of 22’ at Ayer Shirley Regional High School.
My journey with the Fab 5 started in the fall of freshman year of High School. I remember I had to go over at Gabby’s house to help write the poster board for the Spring Showcase at Great Wolf Lodge. I didn’t go to the event, and I’m not sure why, but I didn’t. However, joining the Fab 5 was a big step for me. From getting used to going straight home after school and doing nothing, to always being busy and making sure everything is not piled on to Gabby. When one of the original team members had to move away, and another quit, I felt like Gabby had a lot to deal with and was mildly stressed about it. I knew it wasn’t my job to make sure Gabby wasn’t over stressed, but I couldn’t just sit there and watch it all happen to her. That’s when I think my career with the Fab 5 actually started, when there weren’t actually five members.
Now we didn’t just find a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, though that would have helped us. No, we fundraised a lot. We have done many, many, MANY different fundraisers in the past five years, and have found out which are useful, and which are a waste of time. Our top three money-maker ones were, raffle calendars, a drive-in, and canning.
A raffle calendar is a month-long raffle where every day for a whole month there is a raffle. When we sold the tickets, we told the customer that even if they win we put their name back in the raffle so they could win multiple times. The money maker isn’t how we put together the calendar, it was going door to door selling tickets. It was also very time consuming. Nevertheless, we have made a minimum of $3,000 and the most of $5,200 from them.
For the drive-in, we have only done two, and only one of them was a success. We were able to do the drive-in at our high school’s parking lot, and get all of the supplies donated to us. We had a screen, speakers, and even an FM radio to tune into the speaker. That way if it was too cold, people could sit in their cars and listen inside. This was also a time consuming event, only because we really had to get the word out, and have people believe we were hosting a real drive-in, locally! Our first drive-in was a huge success making around $1200, and we then donated the money to the class of 2022 so they could have more funding for the prom and other events. However, our second one wasn’t a very successful one, I remember only selling 18 tickets, and not a lot of people were at the concession stand. I think we only made around $500. It was still fun, and I would love to try to do another drive-in and try to invite the whole town!
The other thing we do to raise money, is canning. We sit in front of a grocery store with a sign and bucket, and ask everyone passing by if they would like to donate to the Apple Valley Center Nursing Home. We would only sit there for around four hours, and the least we have made from that was only $150. However, we now know which stores to go to, and which to avoid.
I could go on and on about the different fundraisers we have, how I would do it differently, or wonder “what if” all day. However, I am just so happy and grateful that I got to go through this whole United Way Youth Venture experience with my best friends.