Making a Difference: Relay For Life Youth Board Leaps Into Action

Relay For Life of Fairfield is now entering its 22nd year, and with the new season, there will be changes. In addition to its adult-comprised Event Planning Committee, the event will now be complemented by a Youth Board. The Youth Board is made up of students from local high schools, primarily Fairfield Warde and Fairfield Ludlowe. Its goal is to raise money for the American Cancer Society, an organization that works to help cancer patients and their families, as well as research for a cure. As the number one private funder of cancer research in the nation, second only in overall funding to the federal government, the work done with Relay is incredibly important. Relay For Life of Fairfield will be June 8th, 2019 at Fairfield Ludlowe High School, something that the Youth Board will be a crucial part of executing successfully.

Warde students Jessica Richards and Ysabela Barroso are the Youth Board Co-Leads, and they work closely with J.R. Rivera (Bring the People Lead), Erika Yaverski (Fund the Mission), and Layla Solomon (Build the Fun) to lead the board. Along with other student members, their job is to do outreach, get sponsors, and create fundraising activities for the event. Youth Board members can work in different aspects of the process, and each person can individualize their work to their interests. “We get to work with some great people,” says Rivera. “This is my favorite community service I’ve been a part of. I’d recommend joining to anyone.”

Erin Harrington, a Youth Board participant and team member says, “I’ve been doing Relay for 10 years now and it is one of the most unique and effective fundraisers I’ve ever seen. I have such a personal connection with Relay and supporting their cause is extremely important to me.” The American Cancer Society’s work is extremely important for many aspects of the fight to end cancer, including everything from facilitating cutting-edge cancer research to providing families with free places to stay when they need to travel for cancer treatment. The tangible results of fundraising efforts can easily be seen, and the effect is incredible. “Relay has really helped me realize the higher purpose of hard work,” says Yaverski, “Knowing that your donations and time create a direct impact on the lives of those fighting is the best feeling that Relay gives me.”

The next meeting of the Youth Board will be November 8th, from 3:30-4:30pm at a location to be determined. Anyone interested in joining is welcome to come and learn more about the mission, the work of the Youth Board, and Relay in general. For those that are interested in developing leadership, teamwork, and organizing skills, this will be a great opportunity to gain, refine, or practice them. Furthermore, for those who may not see Relay’s Youth Board as ‘their thing’, students are still encouraged to sign up as teams online at the Relay For Life website, like them on social media (Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter), and get involved. For more information, please reach out to Jessica Richards (P23), Ysabela Barroso (F36), or the ACS Staff Partner Taylor Filanowski at taylor.filanowski@cancer.org.

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