The school budgets passed in all of the towns covered by Parsippany Life and Neighbor News. That’s good news for teachers, school staffs and students.
With less money available for extracurricular activities after the previous election, schools had to cut back on their support of sports teams, bands and clubs. Students who wanted to continue participating in these programs and their parents were not always willing to accept the cuts. They turned to raising their own funds. Car washes, bake sales, clothing drives and other events sprang up as they found creative ways to get residents to support them while offering a service to those residents.
One fundraising idea that has become popular with many organizations is the “can shake.” You must have encountered that somewhere. Before the school budget cuts, you would most likely see it in action when volunteer fire departments need to raise money. Members, holding a collection can — or a boot, which is a clever idea — will walk up to cars stopped at traffic lights. There’s no pressure to donate. You’re in your car. You can roll down the window and hold out a dollar for them or keep the window up, look away and drive off.
It does raise funds but it looks more like begging than a fundraiser.
Now that school groups also have begun shaking their cans, several children or teens will stand right outside the exit of a supermarket and ask for your support of their cause. “Help the girls softball team,” for example, is all the explanation offered. They will be wearing a team shirt or jacket. The can will have the name of the school or team on it. So you give them a dollar. Otherwise you have to pretend that you neither saw nor heard them. They are right there, often one student on either side of you as you leave the store.
The next week when you return to the supermarket, a different team is asking for money. So you give them a dollar.
And the next week, another team. Do you just assume that each trip to the store is going to cost you an extra dollar or do you stop giving? Should you take the time to ask what the money will be used for: uniforms, equipment?
The “can shake” must be effective or it wouldn’t be such a popular method but we’d prefer to see students return to the fundraising efforts that offer their supporters something in return. That seems like learning to earn the dollar, not begging for it.