Month: December 2018


Community Service Program of the Month
Candy Grams

School: Kansas State University Region: MACURH
Person in charge: Natalia Rodriguez Nominator: Kinsey Davidson and Brian Mota

Target Population: 500 Time Needed to Organize: 4 hours
Number of People in Attendance: 75 Date(s) of Program: Dec. 3-7
Number of People Needed to Organize: 21 Cost of Program: $20
On-Campus Population: 5500 Chapter Size: 16

Origin of Program:

At Kansas State, the Strong Community - made up of three different residence halls - is known for the strong sense of community (pun intended) that it develops year after year. One group that consistently contributes to this atmosphere is Strong Community Council (SCC). SCC invites students to practice leadership by serving their community. Despite having few returning members and many first year students, SCC produced outstanding contributions over the fall semester. In fact, in October they received recognition as Organization of the month for the MACURH Region. SCC was energized by this recognition; they saw the waves that their contributions could make. For December, they chose to extend their community beyond the three halls of Strong to the big city of Manhattan, KS. For the past two years, SCC has hosted a Candy Gram program in which residents purchase candy canes to send to other individuals in Strong. The proceeds from these sales are used to fund a community member’s wish-list through the Manhattan Emergency Shelter, Inc. SCC continued with this program for a third year because it brings awareness to different experiences of the winter holidays and affords students the opportunity to make a difference.

Word Count: 198

Please give a short description of the program:

With the thought of spreading the holiday spirit in the community and love for the good cause in mind, SCC got to work. SCC knew this program was going to take a lot of effort so careful planning was made to achieve the goals of the Candy Grams program. During one of their weekly meetings, they decided to sell and distribute the Candy Grams during dead week. After mindful planning, shifts were set up to cover during lunch and dinner times. Despite SCC members having limited free time, most slots were filled.

As the day came closer to collect money for Candy Grams, excitement grew more and more between SCC members. With so much energy and excitement to last for days, a couple of members decided to make a big banner for the stand where the Candy Grams were going to be sold. The banner included the cause for candy grams and prices at which they were sold. The banner also reflected the amount of effort and care towards the program. When it came time to sell the candy grams, the outcomes did not disappoint.

The Strong Community is known for having an amazing sense of community and the candy grams proved once again how close knitted the community is. Residents got creative and stapled handwritten notes to send to their friends they now call family. Candy Grams also showed Strong residents willingness to contribute beyond the community and bought Candy Grams for the sole purpose of the cause. They would buy several candy grams and give them to random residents walking around.

After three fun days of selling finally came time to distribute the candy grams. We were all surprised by the number of candy grams sold after three days. Strong bought over 200 candy grams. With so many candy canes to deliver between three buildings, SCC was ready to get to work. Many residents also asked if they could help prepare the candy grams and deliver them to the doors. After a couple hours spent hole punching then tying each note to a candy cane, the group delivered them. The volunteers split into groups to get them delivered in all three buildings.

With $130 after buying candy canes, Strong’s amazing Assistant Community Coordinators, Emma Pisello and Neff Tyner, set out to buy the items for the community member.

Word Count: 390

Goals of the program:

As the Candy Grams fundraiser has been done for the past two years in Strong, SCC had some expectations for the greater Manhattan community along with their immediate community in Strong. While a record of our participation and funds has not been passed on from year to year, SCC knew that this has been a successful program.

SCC wanted to continue that by selling enough candy canes to provide $75 worth of presents for a community member. Even though SCC did not know which community member they would be supporting, they understood how their contributions could decrease stress during the holiday season. This understanding helped motivate SCC members working on this fundraiser.

SCC wished to make these sales for community building as well. When they were considering whether to even continue with Candy Grams at all, returning residents chimed in and spoke about grams that they sent or received in previous years and what it meant to them. SCC moved forward with Candy Grams to encourage positive experiences like these.

Finally, SCC used this as yet another opportunity for members to gain volunteer and event organizing experience.

Word Count: 187

Positive and lasting effects of the program:

This program gave Strong the opportunity to serve the community. It left positive marks and a big-lasting impact. While it was a great experience for everyone involved, there was a lot of growth developed in several areas.

Having many first-year students organize a program proved to be a great leadership learning experience so they can practice for the rest of their college career. The first-year students in SCC took initiative in planning and executing their plan to create change.

Residents in the Strong Community also continued to foster community. Residents showed how much they care about each other by writing notes for each other. They cherish moments where they truly know what having a family-type community away from home is like which is valued a lot in Strong.

SCC main purpose was to provide positive effects outside the residence halls for the community member they were able to serve. SCC hopes it created a great impact for the community member. They wanted to let the member know there are people that care.

Word Count: 172

Short evaluation of the program:

From planning to execution, SCC put in quality work. Because Candy Grams took place the week before finals, SCC mapped out the details in the weeks prior so that the program would run smooth and the community could benefit.

Candy grams were available for purchase in the lobby of the dining center for Strong at all dinners from Monday through Wednesday. This tabling was effective because it was a high traffic location and allowed for free word-of-mouth advertising.

With the proceeds, the advisors to SCC were able to purchase the items on the community member’s wish list - this including warm and durable clothing that is sure to be used throughout the season. Strong Community gathered enough funds that they also were able to donate needed items to the Manhattan Emergency Shelter, Inc.

The distribution of candy grams was fairly enjoyable as well. The day after sales ended volunteers attached the tags - that were addressed and organized at the point of sale - to the candy canes. This step along with fastening them to resident’s doors was a bit tedious, but it adds festivity to the building. The nearly 10 volunteers in this process helped as well.

Word Count: 198

How could this program be adapted to other campuses?

SCC’s Candy Grams was somewhat reliant on the pre-existing Adopt an Ornament [a community member] program hosted by our local emergency shelter. Community efforts like this are often present during the holiday season; if another campus wanted to host a similar program without this resource or at another time in the year, there are variables that could be changed. To begin, the proceeds could still be used to purchase items for some local resource center - contact them to find out! Additionally, the item that an organization is selling can be changed to many other candies or drinks. Our first tip here would be to choose an item that can be purchased in large quantities on a small budget. Our second tip is to choose an item that can be a pun - because what human doesn’t like a good pun? For example, an organization could purchase Hug drinks and advertise, “give a hug to your friends!” This type of program could also be used to encourage healthy competition between communities - just be sure to keep and/or pass on records of sales.

Word Count: 184

Date of entry into database: 2019-01-05 16:35:16

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