Big Hearts in North Dakota
Many chapters around the country follow the last line of the FFA motto, “living to serve”, through their community service projects. One chapter in North Dakota took their project to a national level by donating to state associations that were affect by natural disasters in 2017.
When Mr. William Fritz, advisor of the Iver Hagen- Rolla Chapter in North Central North Dakota, signed his students up for concessions for an elementary basketball game he encouraged his students to find a way they could donate the funds they would raise. This big-hearted group of kids started talking about the natural disasters that occurred throughout the United States. The all agreed to split the money up between different associations that were affected by natural disasters in 2017. The titled this project “We Rise by Helping Others”, Mr. Fritz explained that they chose this title because “community service and helping other is true to our hearts.”
The Iver Hagen- Rolla Chapter consists of 67 members in grades 7th through 12th. There chapter officers are as follows: President- Billie Lentz, Vice President- Michael Kurtti, Secretary- Grant Munro, Treasurer- Emma Mitchell, Reporter- Cade McCloud, and Sentinel- Jakob Hudson. Every member in the chapter has a developed Supervised Agriculture Experience and has an Agriscience project which many take to the North Dakota FFA Agriscience Fair. Mr. Fritz said that the chapter’s greatest pride is all of the community service projects they do. He states that “we believe heavily in giving back to the community is important for a member’s education.” Some of their other projects include, a Weekend Backpack Food Program where they collect healthy food and cash donations so less fortunate children have meals on the weekend, cleaning the International Peace Gardens in the spring, and donate books to elementary grades to promote literacy. This chapter shows in every project that they care about giving back.
The “We Rise by Helping Others” project was fortunate enough to have donations made to cover the cost of food so all of the funds raised would go to the selected associations. The only item the chapter had to pay for was pizza but they took that money out of their own funds not the money raised. There were 17 members who worked, planned, and donated food items and six community members donated items or helped work. Members really enjoyed working on this project. Some members shared their feelings about this project. Andre Elick said “I wish I could have done more because there were a lot more states affected by other disasters. In the future, I hope this turns into a bigger project so everyone affected can receive some help.” “The FFA is a national organization not just a community or state organization. We are here to help others in the time of need,” says Billie Lentz. Jake Mitchell and Logan Elick both said that “it felt good to help FFA members in other states. We might be strangers to each other but we all believe in the values of the blue and gold.” Finally, Ezera Wuori says “It was amazing helping others and that I can make a difference in someone else’s life.” These quotes really expressed the meaning of the project to these members. This year they donated the funds to Montana, Texas, and Florida and hope to make this an annual project so they can continue helping more associations.
Mr. Fritz gives advice to other chapters that are planning service projects by saying “make sure you have more food or materials than needed. We ran out of food because we didn’t know how many people to expect.” Also, he encourages chapters to make sure the project is “real” don’t do it for fame or attention do it because you want to help others not because you can pad a resume. Get the community involved, businesses and other community members will donate items to help. Finally, spread the word, social media is a great way to do this so is just word of mouth.
The Iver Hagen- Rolla Chapter looks forward to seeing how this project will grow. They want to be able to help as many associations as possible. This chapter has truly inspired me and I also look forward to seeing how they grow in this project. Thank you to Mr. Fritz and the whole chapter for sharing their story.
Montana Raised in a Barn Representative
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