Domestic violence exists all over the world, but I was shocked to hear that in the United States, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner – more than 12 million women and men over the course of a year.
People are often surprised to hear that domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women – more common than car accidents, muggings and rapes combined. These sobering statistics are from the National Domestic Violence Hotline. There is a societal cost as well, because domestic violence victims often miss work while recovering.
As these realizations sunk in, combined with an awareness that a family friend was a victim of domestic violence, I knew that as the president of the Medical Outreach Volunteers for Everyone (MOVE) club at Los Altos High School, I had to do something about it.
MOVE is a student-run volunteer service club at Los Altos High whose goal is to support underserved residents in the Bay Area by raising money to make donations and provide supplies for charities.
The club has approximately 20 active members who worked together throughout the 2018-2019 school year to organize fundraising events for worthy nonprofit groups.
As president of the club, I am always on the lookout for worthwhile causes and began seeking out nonprofit organizations that support domestic violence victims.
I found Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence in San Jose, a nonprofit agency that provides counseling, shelters and resources for victims of domestic violence.
We began by purchasing and donating $125 worth of toiletries and linens, with money raised from selling boba tea to the student body.
Earlier in the school year, we had raised money and donated $100 of medical supplies and toiletries to the Peninsula Healthcare Connection, a charity that provides mental health care for the homeless.
In January, club members conducted research and discussed the mission of each of the two charities to see which one to focus on for the remainder of the school year.
Ultimately, the members voted to conduct future fundraisers for Next Door Solutions because of the critical work it does to help victims of domestic violence and their families.
The club set an ambitious goal of raising at least $1,000 to add to the $125 raised previously. Once they set the target, members got busy planning multiple fundraisers to reach the goal by the end of the school year.
To meet such an ambitious target, which was nearly six times what the club had raised in the previous school year, the students first had to put up their own money to purchase the boba tea, risking losing their investment if the tea did not sell.
Club members also had to obtain school permission, advertise the date of the sale, secure the freshly made tea just before the school day was over and work at the stand until it was all sold.
The student members sold boba tea on more than 10 school days, and in the end, they successfully raised another $1,051 for Next Door Solutions.
The club raised a total of $1,276 in the 2018-2019 school year for both charities.
For this school year, MOVE club members plan to challenge themselves to raise at least $1,000. We plan to kick off fundraising efforts for Next Door Solutions this month.
Shay Adams is a senior at Los Altos High School.