- Jessica Rand, Sarah Schatz, Katrina McGlynn and Carly Weston, all students at Horace W. Porter School in Columbia, formed Friendz Making A Difference. Every year, they will raise both funds and awareness for one specific cause. They are currently raising funds for Our Companions Domestic Annual Sanctuary in Ashford.
After watching the film “Slum-dog Millionaire,” which follows a character who has grown up in abject poverty, four sixth-grade students from Horace W. Porter School decided they wanted to help others less fortunate.
And so, Katrina McGlynn, Jessica Rand, Sarah Schatz and Carly Weston formed Friendz Making A Difference in August 2009.
They decided that, every year, they will raise both funds and awareness for one specific cause.
They considered several nonprofit organizations and decided their first fundraising event will be for Our Companions Domestic Annual Sanctuary in Ashford.
“Our Companions was selected off a list of about 50 or so charities that were brought to the girls’ attention,” said Deidre McGlynn, who is the mother of Katrina McGlynn and the group’s unofficial spokesman. “They were impressed with the mission of Our Companions, and the fact that they helped the neediest of animals who would otherwise most likely lose their lives.”
The girls put together several fundraisers. They ran a booth selling items they made themselves during the Columbia Farmer’s Market and hosted a variety show at Yeomans Hall in Columbia on March 13.
The variety show featured 30 performers, including gymnasts, singers, dancers and musicians.There were also fundraising raffles, a bake sale and a craft fair during the show.
The Town of Columbia usually charges a rental fee for the use of the hall, but waived the fee for the girls. Local vendors donated door prizes, baked goods and crafts. The event raised more than $3,000 for the cause.
“It was an absolutely amazing show,” said McGlynn. “The Friendz hosted it like pros. The tons of hard work was so very worth it.”
Since September, the girls’ fund-raising efforts have totaled $4,000 and they plan on continuing to raise money for Our Companions for the next six months as well, which will complete a full year.
And the four girls are looking ahead. Next year they will raise funds for either St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, or a group serving wounded veterans.
They will also expand membership to Friendz Making A Difference.
Community members who would like to assist the girls by making a donation to either Our Companions Domestic Animal Sanctuar or next year’s charity — or who would like to suggest a worthy cause, can contact the group via e-mail at email@example.com or via regular mail: Friendz Making a Different, P.O. Box 1444, Hebron, CT 06248.