A letter to our Butterfly Effect Ambassador, Jennifer Cauzza!
I’m speaking today at a Charter School Conference sharing about our challenges and successes….so I wanted to highlight some of the student “Be the Change” items that we’ve been doing over the last year+.  A teacher shared this one with me and I asked that she have the student write it up so I could hear it from his perspective.  Heartwarming!
Dear Mrs. Cauzza,
My name is Max Rosenberg, I’m who put together the Pumpkins for Pritchard drive in October at the MHSA campus.  I was told by Kathleen Whitworth that you would like a write up from me on the drive so you could present it at a meeting tomorrow.  I wasn’t sure exactly what you were looking for, especially since you didn’t contact me directly, so I apologize if this is un called for or unnecessary.  Nevertheless, I wrote about the event, with a focus on “Why not me?”, as I was explained to do by Mrs. Whitworth.
Upon hearing about Mr. Pritchard’s condition through an email from Mrs. Pritchard briefly mentioning his situation, I was immediately affected by the news.  I did some research and realized how serious his condition was.  I went up to Mrs. Pritchard one day and told her how sorry I was, and then she told me she would be out of town for the next few weeks with her husband while he receives treatment.  I began thinking of what I could do for her in that time period to surprise her when she returned.  I juggled many ideas, finally deciding on a drive to raise money in the form of selling pumpkins at the school during dismissal period.  This way I could not only raise money for her and her husband, but also raise awareness for the cause, and get the community involved.  I got the OK from a teacher, and then I explained the situation to the pumpkin patch I worked for at the time.  My boss generously donated four boxes of pumpkins, straw bales, and corn stalks.  I picked up the trailer full of donations at the pumpkin patch, and hauled it down to the school.  With the help of a few friends we set up the booth, putting the pumpkins on display.  One of my teachers painted signs, another teacher made a donations box, the drive was in motion.  “Pumpkins for Pritchard” is the name we chose, and by selling pumpkins to passing cars every day at the dismissal periods we ended up raising over $3,000.  We finally presented the money to Mrs. Pritchard the next week, and she was over the moon.  The money was just a small piece of the puzzle for her, she was more affected by the fact that I brought the community together to raise awareness for her and her husband’s cause.  There were many students helping out every day selling pumpkins, along with many teachers.  Even the middle school got involved and sold pumpkins on the days they held classes and the high school did not.  The majority of parents that drove by either donated money, or came back the next day with cash to donate.  Many parents donated immense amounts of money, taking only few pumpkins in return.  The most touching part of the entire operation in my opinion was when I would personally go up to cars, seeing if they wanted to buy pumpkins, and they would ask me about Mrs. Pritchard.  When I explained to them what she and her family were going through, and why they need our support, the parents were very affected by the cause.  They didn’t only donate money, but also offered help with the drive, with anything we do in the future, I even had someone give me her business card offering catering for any future donation event we hold for the cause.  When I began organizing the drive, I was focused mainly on raising the finances.  After the drive was over however, I learned that it is more rewarding to have the support of your community, than any denomination of money.  I am very happy to have been the one to ensue this level of support and awareness not only for my principal who is fully deserving of it, given all the hard work she puts in for us at the school, but also for any family affected by cancer.  I was told to write about the drive from a perspective of “Why not me?”, and in pondering this question I came up with a simple answer.  I chose to be the one to put this together because I care about the cause, and I’m aware of my abilities.  Any one person is capable of changing their community in a huge way, they just either don’t have the motivation or do not realize how able they truly are.  The first step to making a difference is knowing what you are capable of.
I want to mention also that while not going into extreme detail in the write up (for reason of unknown audience), I want to thank Mrs. Piccola specifically, she’s who got the event approved, who painted signs, and spent a lot of time helping sell pumpkins.
Thank you Mrs. Cauzza, and I apologize for this being so last minute.
Max Rosenberg