Congratulations Kaylyn, you crushed it!
In January, we interviewed Kaylyn Townsend, an incredible highschooler campaigning for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Student of the Year. This program gives exemplary students a platform to do serious good in the world while also providing an opportunity to develop their professional skills. When we first spoke to Kaylyn, she had just started fundraising. After checking back in with her, we found she had raised almost $20,000—the entire Rocky Mountain region raised nearly $670,000 total (as seen in the photo above of Kaylyn at the virtual celebration), and it's the highest total to date! Needless to say, we were blown away!
To celebrate this amazing accomplishment, we sat down with Kaylyn a second time to discuss what the experience was like for her. She also offered some advice for other students who are also looking to do something extraordinary!
What was your final amount raised?
If you had to describe your experiences fundraising in one sentence, what would it be?
My experience was exhausting, yet worthwhile!
What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone else your age who is interested in fundraising?
Start on going for sponsorships early, and go for more than one. That’s where the big donations come in, and you see so much increase in numbers. Starting on them early helps make sure other teams don’t go for the same sponsorships that you do.
What were some particularly touching or energizing moments during your campaign?
Every time our hero kid, Jalen, spoke to us, he was just amazing. He’s very articulate and inspirational, and every time I hear him speak, it just motivates me so much to go out and raise money so I can help kids like Jalen. He’s just an amazing little boy, and I feel rejuvenated in the campaign every time he makes a speech.
What’s something you feel more confident about now, having successfully raised all the money?
Definitely being more outspoken about what I need. When I first started the campaign, I would be a little timid asking people for money. I used the words "may" and "please." By the end, I was much more demanding and powerful with my asks, and I now know that if I’m more forceful but kind with asks, it shows people that you are passionate and encourages them to donate quicker.
What are some other causes that interest you?
Some other causes that interest me are diabetes. One of my teammates worked on getting auction items instead of raising money for the campaign because she has Type 1 diabetes and is running a fundraiser for that non-profit charity as well. After I heard of this charity, it definitely caught my eye and interested me.
Even if you don’t pursue any campaigns like this again, what’s something you learned that you feel you’ll be using for the rest of your life?
Something I’ll be able to use for the rest of my life is the confidence I gained. I thought I was confident before this campaign, but it turns out I was really timid. With all of the steps I had to go through to get nearly $20k, I have gained so much belief in myself and will use it every single day.
What do you think makes "Student of the Year" unique?
I think "Student of the Year" is so unique because it allows high school students to step up and show their worth in the community around them. High school students tend to get stereotyped as lazy, and sometimes destructive. By participating in this campaign, it crushes the stereotype for high school kids, and it shows how we will be a functioning member of society, even at such a young age.
Kaylyn's final fundraising amount of $19,840 was nothing short of incredible! Whatever cause she turns her attention to next, we're excited to see the results!
Who are some amazing students in your life? Let us know what they've done in the comments.