Courtesy of Ana Gutierrez
Charity 4 the Children (C4C) is dedicated to reducing child poverty in the U.S. by donating educational supplies to impoverished schools in our community and country. Their mission is to empower, equip, and ameliorate the circumstances of economically disadvantaged children, ultimately unlocking their maximum potential.
Founder and WCHS senior Robin Bali started this organization and club the summer going into his freshman year; it has over 40 volunteers members and plans to expand their outreach outside the Montgomery County region as well.
“After Ms. Maples, my 8th grade history teacher assigned a current events assignment, I found out that child poverty wasn’t solely pertinent to developing countries but also to a developed country: the U.S,” Bali said. “Because of this, the summer going into freshman year, my dad and I worked on making sure we improve child poverty in the U.S. through our club and our organization.”
During the holiday season C4C holds their annual free gift wrapping event, and this year they raised $200 more than they had anticipated. This allowed them to buy the social studies department 150 books for Lakeland Elementary Middle School in Baltimore, Md.
“We usually donate about two to three times a year, with the recent donation being our first and biggest donation of the year and in C4C history,” Bali said. “C4C donates to schools designated as having a high percentage of students eligible to receive a free or reduced meal price. For this reason, all of the schools we donate to have students living in a low-income family.”
C4C uses a variety of methods to find schools that help emulate their mission– from emailing schools in counties across the country who’ve been afflicted by natural disasters or high poverty rates, to looking at the free or reduced meal percentages using newspapers and other child poverty organization’s interactives, C4C finds many ways to connect with schools everywhere.
“C4C donates educational resources such as books, mathematical tools like compasses and protractors, and other resources as well,” club sponsor Jonathan Lee said. “We pick the schools that will receive donations on a by-need basis. To determine these schools, we research in-need schools in the DMV area online and through in-person sources and then contact the school’s administrators to discuss if they are willing to receive donations.”
Throughout the school year, C4C hosts restaurant fundraiser bimonthly, donates at least once every three months, and hosts bake sales before the school year ends.
More than just an organization, C4C has taught Bali how to manage a business and how strong the 20854 community is in supporting causes that matter. Bali’s favorite part about C4C is just getting to see the support it’s received during fundraisers from the community and the evident growth from freshmen year C4C has had both in their volunteer base, donations and outreach.
“We’ve donated over four times in the past three years of which we’ve raised over $1,100 to donate these supplies in the same time frame,” Bali said. “After this donation in Baltimore, I met this kid named Rody–an eighth-grader child prodigy and national rocotic champion–and was able to see how delighted he was to see these big boxes just for his class and school. I felt ecstatic before the donation, mainly because of the anticipation and expectations I’ve come up with during the car ride, but once they’re donated and I get to see the kids, I feel elated at the fact that the kids can continue educating themselves without needing to worry about if they can continue their regularly scheduled school year.”