Impressive Effort by Hunt, Scoggins and Pioneer Heritage Middle Schools in Frisco ISD
By Mary Murphy & Rob Scichili
Three years ago, Girl Scout Troop 8737 worked with Hunt Middle School in Frisco, TX to put on the first-ever City House Frisco Thon fundraiser. The next year, Scoggins Middle School joined the effort as a second school to participate. This year, for the spring of 2016, Thon expanded to three middle schools in Frisco ISD, held on April 8. Pioneer Heritage joined in as the third school in three years, and it was a night of success, all the way around.
Frisco Thon is a six-hour dance-a-thon (and all things fun) for middle school students that is modeled after the Penn State Thon that has been around for years in the name of cancer research. The event raises money and awareness for City House and their cause – helping at-risk youth for abuse, neglect and homelessness in Collin County.
All together, the three schools combined to raise more than $32,000 for City House as part of the 2016 Frisco Thon!
“I think that Frisco Thon was an amazing opportunity for our staff, students and community to come together for a great cause,” said Scoggins school counselor Christine Combest. “The students were excited to donate and support a cause that is very close to home. It is relatable for these students since it helps other youth in the Collin County area. Everyone had a great time and enjoyed the opportunity to get up and move for six hours in the name of City House.”
The students were certainly moving, kept busy by a full itinerary that included pie-eating contests, lip-synching contests, faculty-student basketball games, a dunk tank (at Pioneer Heritage), limbo contests, and of course, dancing.
“Frisco Thon brought our school and community together in so many ways,” said Keleigh Compton, teacher and sponsor at Pioneer Heritage. “We had students, teachers, parents, and other community members doing everything they could to make Frisco Thon fun and successful! I think that seeing everyone work together for such a great cause will have a lasting effect on these kids for years to come!”
Current City House clients Mario and Christina, who are residents in the organization’s Transitional Living Program, came to all three schools to talk with the students and thank them for their efforts.
“It’s your dedication to give back and participate in an evening like this that makes a huge difference,” Mario told the students at Hunt. “City House has done so much for me. I can focus on what is next for me instead of where I am going to sleep tonight. Thank you all so much for raising money for City House.”
Christina went on to explain how the program has helped her immensely and now she is pursuing her goal of studying to be a cosmetologist.
Pranav Chelat, a student at Pioneer Heritage said, “Frisco Thon really helped me realize that there are actually people struggling just to get a good home and to live a decent life. I now realize that Frisco also has homeless people. Frisco Thon helps those people in need with the money that we donate and also guarantees the fun all the kids had. The event is a combination of fun and charity helping.”
Sumedha Bhagavatula, also a student at Pioneer Heritage added, “Frisco Thon has brought the kindness out of me and allowed me to do a great service for the greater good of my city and school.”
The students and volunteers enjoyed Raising Cane’s chicken fingers for an early meal during the event, with pizza being served in the latter hours. There certainly wasn’t a shortage of food and drink!
Although City House has been around for 27 years, many teachers and students still aren’t aware that the local nonprofit organization is there to help.
Plano teachers Nancy Boyd and Kay Goodman founded City House in 1988 after they discovered several of their students living out of lockers. City House began as a six-bed teen shelter and has grown into a 48-bed multi-faceted organization. They now have an emergency care center, My Friends House, for ages 0-17, three Transitional Living Program (TLP) homes for ages 18-21 and outpatient counseling services. They also have a Youth Resource Center in Plano, where young adults can take life skills classes, get help finding jobs, and more.
Money raised from previous Thons have helped City House finance the TLP program in Frisco and overall in Collin County.
“Frisco Thon has helped City House reach more people, both in awareness and impact,” said Rob Scichili, communications manager for City House. “Parents are also made aware of the issue of teen homelessness, and many become more involved once they learn of the issue. This great event helps unite the students on a very fun night that benefits a worthy cause.
“All of us at City House would like to thank the students and staff for all of their dedication and hard work. Raising over $32,000 is pretty darn impressive. We will put every penny towards helping the kids we serve. It was a very fun night and we appreciate these young people for stepping up for their community.”
City House’s Frisco Thon fundraiser began in 2014 with the help of Girl Scout Troop 8737, whose members were 8th grade students at Hunt Middle School at the time. Troop members Madison Gray, Brianna Royer, and Samantha Buckalew learned about City House while donating boxes of Girl Scout Cookies to Samaritan Inn, a homeless shelter in McKinney, TX.
“We decided to work with City House because the young adult age group is often underserved, and we wanted to target real people that needed our service and that we could work with personally,” said Madison Gray, now a sophomore at Frisco High School. “It very easily could have been myself or one of my Girl Scout sisters in that same situation. Because of that, we knew we had to help.”
Troop 8737 worked with Hunt Middle School’s Student Council to plan and carry out the first-ever Frisco Thon. The fundraiser was a great success and nearly $12,000 was raised for City House.
Hunt, Scoggins and Pioneer Heritage simply went out and tripled that number in 2016.
“Students loved the fact that they were raising money for teens and students that they may go to school with or see every day, which touched everyone on a personal level,” said Maria Lawson, sophomore at Frisco High School and former Hunt student council president who helped make Thon a reality in 2014. “It was eye opening for everyone to understand that there were people in their community the same age as them that were less privileged, so everyone wanted to help make a change.”
Thank you to all of the great sponsors that partnered with the three schools to raise money for a great cause!