Timpview Fundraising: Hype or Heart


The Sub for Santa donation tracker in the commons, 2017.

Candace Brown

Over the last six months, Timpview High School’s Sub-for-Santa and Make-A-Wish fundraisers have raised over $125,000 for 120 families and one little girl named Jessica, making 2017-2018 Timpview’s most charitable year by far.

But we can do better.

Don’t get me wrong: Our Sub-for-Santa and Make-A-Wish fundraisers, primarily organized and led by student government and NHS respectively, are terrific programs that do a lot of good in the community.

“Sub for Santa is designed to help families specifically in Provo, and some in Orem,” said Women’s President Brittney Conger, one of the leading student government students who helped make this year’s fundraiser a success.

Local media interviews Brittney Conger on the success of Timpview’s annual Sub for Santa fundraiser.

“[It’s] a great way to help those who have extra give to those…that need extra.”

Last December, Timpview raised a staggering $124,441.94.

(To put this in perspective, four years ago, in 2013, we raised $26,976.96 for Sub for Santa. In 1994, Timpview’s graduating class reported that their proudest achievement was raising $4,000 for Sub for Santa, shattering their previous record of $2,000.)

Not to be outdone, this year’s Make-A-Wish fundraiser, which is only in its second year at Timpview, raised enough money not only to send Jessica, a five-year-old girl dealing with leukemia, to Disney World, but also to donate a fair bit of money to another Wish Kid’s fundraiser.

Timpview National Honor Society president, Allison Cook, with Jessica and Jessica’s mother.

“Make-A-Wish knocked it out of the park,” said NHS president Allison Cook, “[especially] when it came to [NHS] pulling off a [what was a] first year project [for us].”

Timpview does an incredible amount of good in the Provo community every year through our successful fundraisers.

Timpview students assemble hundreds of hygiene kits to benefit the Provo and Orem community at the end of the Sub for Santa fundraiser.

However, over my four years at Timpview I have noticed a worrying trend at the school towards focusing on the competitive aspect of the fundraisers rather than the compassionate aspect.

I don’t believe this was intentional, mostly because I know the people organizing these fundraisers, and they are some of the most compassionate, good-hearted people at Timpview.

For example, Brittney Conger and Allison Cook each spent countless hours working on both of Timpview’s fundraisers, contacting businesses, organizing events, and meeting with people being directly impacted by the programs.

They understand that Sub-for-Santa and Make-A-Wish are about service, not records.

But they are working within a damaged system, a school full of students who put their money in collection envelopes and jars because that’s just “what Timpview does.” It’s cool to donate.

And we want to break our annual record. We want pizza and donuts in class. We want Dr. Montero to shave his head. If some collateral good occurs, well, that’s awesome too.

This is all evidence of a competitive culture, one that emphasizes hype more than heart.

The 2017 Sub for Santa donation tracker in the commons.

So how can we change? How can we cultivate a culture of compassion?

One place to start could be human connection.

We know that Sub for Santa and Make-A-Wish make a difference because of the financial benefit to those we’re helping. But what about the emotional benefit?

Mrs. Taylor openly shares her experience as a Sub-for-Santa kid with her students every December. I distinctly remember her standing in front of my class last year, with tears in her eyes, telling us how magical it is to have someone come in and bring you a tree and presents when you weren’t expecting anything that Christmas.

I was crying by the time she finished her story.

Mara, a Wish Kid who was diagnosed with a rare immunodeficiency disorder when she was sixteen, wrote about her experience on the Make-A-Wish blog. She wrote that having her wish granted, to go to Alaska “reminded [her] that there is more to life beyond illness.”

The experience gave Mara hope that she would one day get better and motivated her to fight for a healthier future. Next year she will be applying to medical school.

Stories like these are the reason for our fundraisers. But most of our students don’t hear them.

A few 8’x11′ papers about Jessica were put up during this years Make-A-Wish fundraiser.

We need to hear more stories like these before, during, and after our fundraisers.

One way we could do this during Sub for Santa could be to interview willing former Sub-for-Santa families about their experience and put up posters with their pictures and stories around the school every winter.

Families could come visit us during Advisory and tell us about their Sub-for-Santa Christmas while we work together to wrap hundreds of gifts and assemble thousands of hygiene kits.

We could make and show videos of our Wish Kids telling the stories of their diagnoses.

The Wish Kids and their families could, as much as they are able, attend our fundraising events.

We could have an assembly after granting our kid’s wish where we Skype with them right before, or during, or right after, their wish is granted.

Keaton Helquist and Ali Fillmore shop for Sub for Santa gifts in December.

There are lots of things we could do to establish that human connection and grow from competitive teenagers into compassionate adults.

And while I will not be here at Timpview to help implement these changes next year, I know that we have brilliant student leaders and naturally caring student body who can.