By Kimaia Gassner & Noe Lambert
Beaverton Education Fund gives money to 51 of the 53 schools in the Beaverton School District. One of their most successful fundraisers is the Phone-a-Thon. Students from different clubs from all over the district gather in a muggy, confined, yoga room as the Executive Director, Kristine Baggett cheers forcefully to get everyone pumped about this year’s event and how we will all benefit from the phone calls that we will be making that night. And remember “Stick. To. The. Script.”
Each year, the newspaper squad gathers up and peers around the room. The HS2 ski team stares at me as I walk in late. As I survey the room, I notice we’re the cutest team here— but what’s new.
The beginning meeting comes to a close, the overly excited grownup volunteers call out the different groups as we hang our heads and file out of the room, awaiting our death and certain rejection.
As we enter the room with all the cubicles, I scramble to try to find the nicest one. Now is the most challenging part of all. I dial a number and wonder why the voice is so quiet. I realize my headset is not connected to the phone. I pick up my orange flag and flail it at my advisor. “Please help me. I don’t know how to use a phone.”
Miniature trolls and other trinkets bore their inanimate eyes into me from the walls of another person’s cubicle as I speak on the phone. I am very uncomfortable.
It’s my thirtieth call, and again I am already listening to another middle-aged man explain how he can’t donate because his wife doesn’t love him anymore and he just got laid off at Nike. Sir, I’m sorry— but I’m just trying to pay for some colored pencils for elementary schools here. Just saying. Some problems are bigger than others, sir.
As I continually get rejected with hangups and sob stories, my self-esteems drops each time my advisor peers around the corner and asks if I’ve made another sale.
“No,” I say with my head down.
“Well, do you want Mardi Gras beads anyways?”
“No.” This time a little sadder. I’ve only made six donations and Richard knows it. He begrudgingly hands me a handful of Snickers, but I know I don’t deserve them.
Eight thirty finally arrives as I finally sit back in a stranger’s swivel chair. I’ve collected six donations. I collect my donut and flee the building. The BEF really does lots of work for the school district and provides many of the things that elementary, middle, and high school kids need. The Phone-a-Thon is a short-term struggle for something that benefits our community immensely.
As I sit on the phone, trying my hardest to converse with adults, I feel like a child. (Photo courtesy of mobilespyworld.com).