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Beaverton Education Foundation Phone-a-thon returns for 16th year

Hundreds of student volunteers place calls for school programs

Over the last decade and a half you may have received a call from excited Beaverton School District students asking for donations. This fall will be no different.

In its 16th year, the Beaverton Education Foundation Phone-a-thon begins Tuesday in efforts to continue raising money for the district’s 51 schools.

“It’s the most fun ever,” said BEF Executive Director Kristine Baggett. “The kids have a blast, there’s a ton of energy, and the volunteers feed off of it. Everyone is focused on a common goal.”

Since the fundraising event began, Baggett estimates that more than $1 million has been raised, with the money benefiting 1,200 various after-school, summer and enrichment programs and projects throughout the district.

For the second year in a row, Ruby Receptionists is donating space and resources for the Phone-a-thon, and 35 community partners will donate food and money to help with student incentives.

In the past several years, Baggett said, $100,000 has consistently been raised from the calls, with this year’s goal bumping up to $125,000. It may seem like a lot of money to raise over five nights, but with 70 amped-up student volunteers making calls every evening, totaling roughly 30,000 calls by the time the fundraiser is over, the goal seems less far-fetched.

“This is so competitive,” Baggett said. “We put out the call the second week of school and say it’s time to sign up, let the students know they might not get a slot, and still the faxes and emails come in immediately.”

Every night, seven teams of 10 compete against each other in hopes of bringing in the most money from community pledges. Prizes like Portland Trail Blazers tickets, bowling passes and food loom as incentives, and every time a donation is received, the student caller receives a string of Mardi Gras beads. Baggett laughed at how much the students love the beads and try to collect their school colors.

“They get a little whacked out,” she said. “I adore them all.”

It’s this energy that motivates the students and drives them to do their best, raising as much money as possible for their schools. The mission is an important one, because the funds raised go to after-school programs and innovative classroom projects that otherwise might not receive money.

“Teachers and other staff come to us because there isn’t funding elsewhere for these programs and projects,” Baggett said. “These are teachers who say, ‘My kids, my students, would benefit from this.’ These are relevant projects that reach the kids wherever they’re at.”

So, if you get a call from an unknown number between 6 and 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday or Oct. 21, 22 or 23, be nice. It’s just adrenaline fueling high school students calling to raise money for their schools.

Student volunteer teams:

Tuesday, Oct. 14

• ACMA Dance West

• Aloha ABC Club

• Beaverton Diversity Club

• Beaverton Newspaper

• Southridge Key Club

• Southridge Newspaper

• Westview Thespians

Wednesday, Oct. 15

• ACMA Synergy Vocal Group

• Aloha Model United Nations

• Aloha National Honor Society

• Health & Science Interact Club

• Merlo Station Leadership

• Southridge Volleyball

• Westview Speech & Debate

Tuesday, Oct. 21

• Aloha AVID Class of 2018

• Aloha Key Club

• Beaverton Latino Club

• ISB Latino Student Union

• Sunset Grad Night

• Westview Culinary Arts

• Westview Key Club

Wednesday, Oct. 22

• Beaverton Key Club

• Beaverton Speech & Debate

• Merlo Station GSA

• Southridge Latino Leadership

• Southridge Water Polo

• Sunset Cheer

• Sunset Key Club

Thursday, Oct. 23

• Aloha Latino Leadership

• Beaverton Thespians

• Southridge Ski Team

• Southridge Speech & Debate

• Sunset JSA

• Westview Concert Choir

• Westview Junior State of America

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