Story by Kaylea Bixler, SHS Senior 2017, Photos provided by SMAC
Teenagers. Though the first words you think of may not be philanthropic, or business-minded, these words perfectly describe the Stillwater High School students working diligently to improve their community through Stillwater Makes a Change.
Stillwater Makes a Change (SMAC) is an entirely student led fundraising initiative that strives to raise money and awareness for a local charity, while consequently equipping students with vital skills for the future. This year, our selected beneficiary is MPower, a local nonprofit that provides jobs and support to adults with mental and physical disabilities.
MPower is an organization that provides services to those who do for our community without recognition or thanks. Whether it be scraping gum off of school desks, shredding documents, or even stuffing the bags you receive after a dentist appointment, MPower clients always have a smile on their face and a true passion for helping our community succeed. I know I speak for the students of Stillwater Makes a Change when I say that we hope to not only be able to provide funds to continue the sustainability of MPower, but also learn from their innate servant heartedness.
Stillwater Makes a Change is an ever-changing, always growing organization. This year, SMAC is continuing old traditions, as well as implementing new events. The SMAC You With Color 5K has been both a student and community favorite since SMAC added it to the list of festivities two years ago. 5K participants can expect heaps of color dust, raffles, prizes, and a morning of fun that is sure to create memories that last as long as the color dust stains in your back seat. This year’s SMAC 5K will take place on March 4th at Boomer Lake. People can register for the race at www.stillwatermakesachange.com.
In addition to events we know and love, SMAC is also setting new precedence with the inaugural SMAC Gala. For years, Stillwater Makes a Change has tried to invent new ways to involve the business sector of the community in our efforts. Our answer is the SMAC Gala: an event in which we hope to foster understanding and awareness of our program with those who work tirelessly to provide our town with unique goods and services. Though the gala boasts live entertainment, a silent auction, and engaged and affected student table leaders, none of it would have been possible without the overwhelmingly generous donations from Rosemary Ridge Event Venue and Stillwater Medical Center, as well as generosity from Flourishes and Cake Crazy. With the help of these businesses, as well as many individuals who have put effort into the success of the gala, we are already sold out for this year’s event.
Being a student philanthropist with Stillwater Makes a Change for three years, I have seen how our program reaches out to incite positive change in everything from a single person, to an entire program. Stillwater Makes a Change has given over 100,000 dollars to our selected charities for each of the past two years—a tradition we hope to continue. This year, 100,000 dollars would catalyze much needed special interest projects for our beneficiary. Currently, MPower struggles with accommodating clients who are dependent on walkers and wheelchairs due to their gravel parking lot, as well as transporting their growing clientele. With the help of the community, we hope to provide a paved parking lot and additional vans in the hope of eliminating any undue stress on the families and employees of MPower.
On a personal note, I can attest to how Stillwater Makes a Change is transforming the lives of the next generation. I have learned effective communication skills, fundraising strategies, how to lead groups of people to a common goal, and many other valuable life skills from SMAC. Of the many things I’ve learned as a student of Stillwater Public Schools, being equipped to give back has taught me the most about who I am as a person, a leader, and a member of this community.
Stillwater Makes a Change is eager to involve you, the public, in our efforts. You can learn more about how to get involved, such as our SMAC You With Color 5K, Texas Roadhouse luncheon, or donation opportunities anytime at stillwatermakesachange.com.
Dates to Remember
March 3–SMAC Gala at Rosemary Ridge
March 4–SMAC You With Color Run
March 22–Texas Roadhouse Luncheon
March 27–SMAC Dinner and Mangeant to Kick off SMAC Week
March 28–SMAC Variety Show
March 30–SMAC Carnival
For more information and additional events visit stillwatermakesachange.com.