Article by Jackson Olmstead and Matthew Werneken with contributions from Hannah Ness, Ethan Ghozali, Amber Fenimore, and Emily Remer.
Premature births and the resulting complications are the #1 cause of death in infants in the United States, and even those who survive have chronic health issues and birth defects. Future Business Leaders of America, along with our national service partner, the March of Dimes, are making strides to change that statistic.
As part of The Prematurity Campaign established by the March of Dimes in 2003, November has long been recognized as Prematurity Awareness Month. Prematurity Awareness Month is celebrated by FBLA chapters across the nation and in foreign countries. Members everywhere are encouraged to spread the March of Dimes mission and raise money to donate to help prevent prematurity and birth defects, which is an impact that will be felt in generations to come.
This November, chapters around the globe are planning and executing their March of Dimes activities. From coast-to-coast, this is what FBLA is doing to celebrate Prematurity Awareness Month and spread the mission of the March of Dimes:
“Portage FBLA celebrates Prematurity Awareness Month each year by involving the community and members. Local officers host a Miracle Moment and hand out purple ribbons at a local sporting event to support the March of Dimes. Portage FBLA members use Snapchat to participate in a competitive scavenger hunt, which shares information and spreads awareness about the March of Dimes.”
-Hannah Ness, Wisconsin, Portage High School, State Secretary/Treasurer & Chapter Vice President
“This year at Palm Harbor University High School in Florida, our 170 Member FBLA chapter is becoming involved with March of Dimes for the first time! Our plans are to color the school purple with lights, decorations, and fliers promoting Prematurity Awareness Month. We also hope to organize an informational rally on the last day of November in which students will walk out of class 5-7 minutes “prematurely”. Finally, we are reaching out to other nearby chapters to work on a district wide event.”
-Ethan Ghozali, Florida, Palm Harbor University High School, March of Dimes Director on FBLA Parliamentarian’s Council & Chapter President
“Northside and Sipsey Valley competed not only on the football field, but also to see who can raise the most money for March of Dimes. Throughout the game, both chapters sold tickets for $1, and after half time, one person was drawn to receive half of the money that was raised that night. Donating the other half to March of Dimes, Northside High School FBLA raised over $300 and Sipsey Valley High School FBLA raised $62!“
-Amber Fenimore, Alabama, Northside High School, State District 2 Vice President
“At Yorba Linda, Prematurity Awareness Month and the March of Dimes have taught us not only the importance of the cause itself but also how we can help. This year, we plan to further our contribution by making and wearing March of Dimes shirts to raise awareness, as well as telling our members about the importance of the cause. Furthermore, we are planning to participate in coin-raising by collecting coins across our school to fundraise for March of Dimes.”
-Emily Remer, California, Yorba Linda High School, State Southern Section Co-Vice President
Let’s Start Fundraising!
One of the most important things to raise funding to help end prematurity through March of Dimes is forming a March of Dimes and/or Fundraising Committee on the local level. This set committee can take input from your chapter’s members and work on fundraising for March of Dimes, not just in November, but year-round!
Some ways your chapter may try to promote the March of Dimes mission is to do a school-wide fundraiser with March of Dimes coin-boxes, going from class to class and seeing which class can raise the most money, then promise the winners some type of award! Your chapter can also try having a March of Dimes representative speak to your FBLA members during a meeting or as part of a special event.
No matter what your chapter decides to do, having a good base to work from is key! Work with a central group and ask businesses for a donation on behalf of your school, or try asking to put donation boxes for March of Dimes near their points-of-sale to encourage those who get loose change to put that towards a wonderful and much-needed cause.
Don’t Be Afraid To Get Help
If all else fails, reach out to other chapters near you, or reach out to a state officer! It can be tough to form plans about March of Dimes fundraising, and sometimes it takes just a little bit of help from other areas other than your chapter; never be afraid to ask for assistance! You can find more helpful information below with a special message from Ethan Ghozali, the March of Dimes Director on the National Parliamentarian Council, or on the FBLA-PBL website at www.fbla-pbl.org/cmh/fundraising-ideas/.
Special Message From March of Dimes Director on National Parliamentarian Council
“My name is Ethan Ghozali and I currently serve as a March of Dimes Director on the National Parliamentarian’s Council. I’d like to thank all of the FBLA members across the nation who are already supporting the cause through raising money and awareness for our National Service Partner, March of Dimes.
If your chapter has not yet become involved, then this year is the perfect opportunity to get started! There is still time to participate in Prematurity Awareness Month (a Non-Stop November requirement) and possibly receive national recognition. You can register for a toolkit at bit.ly/fblapam and learn more about what March of Dimes has to offer at www.fbla-pbl.org/partner/march-of-dimes. You can also stay up to date by following Parliamentarian Michael Zhao or any of his council members on Instagram. Together we can work to help all moms and babies!”