If you are having a bad day and need a reason to have hope, chat with the three Co-Presidents of HOPE at Colorado Academy. They embody the spirit of giving and caring at the heart of CA’s annual student-run event that provides food, clothing, supplies, and simple medical services to people in need.
Senior Maude Tetzeli says she vowed to be a Co-President of HOPE in Eighth Grade because she is passionate about the way the event “creates bonds within the CA community and between CA and the surrounding community.”
Senior Walker Briggs watched his older sister, Caroline, the year that she served as Co-President. “I understood the amount of effort it required, and I saw her hard work and determination pay off,” he says. “I wanted that responsibility.”
And finally, Senior Maya Kendall remembers all the way back to Pre-Kindergarten when she watched her mother gather donations for HOPE. “It’s always been a part of the CA experience,” she says. “And it’s always been my goal to lead an organization that gives so much back.”
In addition to their passion for the project, the three HOPE Co-Presidents are a model of teamwork as they plan this year’s event, to be held Saturday, December 11, 2021, on CA’s campus. But they are up against some difficult challenges, and it’s going to take more than hope to pull off a successful day. Here’s why—and how you can help.
Why you should help
“The biggest relief in the world.”
That’s how Kendall describes her reaction when she learned that this year, HOPE could take place as a live, on-campus event. Last year, the leaders of HOPE had to find different ways to give back to the community when pandemic regulations canceled any plans for an on-campus event. So when their successors started planning this year, there was no recent template to follow.
“We’ve had to do a lot of research going back several years and reading how they planned HOPE,” says Briggs. “All the Directors and Associates expect us to have all the answers, but we missed a year, and so it’s definitely a learning curve.”
“Many people have lost so much in the past 18 months,” adds Kendall. “We decided that to maintain the same standard as previous years, we had to focus on fundraising this year.”
The funds HOPE raises this year will go toward the increased costs associated with running an event that complies with CA COVID-19 protocols. There will be no buffet-style holiday meal—instead, organizers will need to buy pre-packaged food to serve. The Co-Presidents also realized that HOPE donations of clothing, shoes, and toys always outgrow the small storage closet in the Smith Center, so they plan to pay for temporary use of a mobile storage unit left on campus after a recent construction project. They also would like to have some follow-up outreach to communities in need—perhaps with gift cards—after the December event.
Tetzeli points out that the team is carefully looking for economies. They are running a diaper drive in Lower School and a backpack drive in Middle School. There are drop-off locations for donations in every division near the administrative offices. Rather than buy personal care products, they have reached out to hotels for items and even to dentists’ offices to find oral care products.
“We are trying to be creative in the way we solve problems,” she says. “We want to maximize the impact of the money we do raise and reach as many people as possible.”
How you can help
Despite the need to comply with COVID-19 protocols, this year’s HOPE will look remarkably like those of past years. Families who visit CA on that day will still find opportunities to play in a bouncy castle, eat a good meal, take a family photo, go home with wrapped gifts, choose from an array of clothing items, and feel a sense of joy during the holidays.
If intelligence, collaboration, and passion could pull it off, HOPE would be a guaranteed success. But Maya Kendall, Walker Briggs, Maude Tetzeli, and all their fellow CA student volunteers need your help. Please take a moment to make a donation to HOPE.