Baker students will place between 6,000 and 7,000 phone calls over the next two Sundays. However, these calls aren't for the typical teenage talk. These high school seniors will break up into pairs calling community members to request donations for scholarships that will help fund students' education costs.
"The students come prepared knowing they have to work hard and they do so with such a positive energy and fun spirit," said Jennifer Saraceni Leitgeb, president of the Baldwinsville Community Scholarship Foundation (BCSF), which organizes the phon-a-thon. "The event is a success because of their effort and enthusiasm."
For 10 years, Baker High School seniors have reached out to the community through a phon-a-thon in an effort to collect donations for scholarships, which are dispersed through the BCSF during Baker High School's annual Moving Up Day. Last year, more than $100,000 in BCSF-funded scholarships were awarded to graduating seniors.
This year, more than 100 students will team up March 6 and 13, with one student making phone calls and the other filling out paperwork. During past events, Baldwinsville community members have contributed more than $40,000 in pledges.
"The response is overwhelming every year. We are a small community with big hearts," Saraceni Leitgeb said. "The positive response from the community and the success of the event is also a testament to our student volunteers. It is a grass-roots fundraising event with kids helping kids."
Besides support from local businesses and community organizations, the phon-a-thon is the only fundraiser held by the BCSF to fund scholarships. However, organizers are finding a national trend is creating a challenge for the annual fundraiser.
"People are discontinuing land lines as they move to use of their cell phones for their primary phones. So, our database is slowly shrinking," said Mark Baker, BCSF treasurer.
The foundation is working towards securing more cell phone numbers for future events, Saraceni Leitgeb said.