A fundraiser for Planned parenthood
In May of 2017, Youth Rise Together worked to organize a fundraiser in support of Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood is a nonprofit organization that offers support and education to people around topics relating to contraception, reproduction, and general sexual health. They have an abortion clinic, provide testing for STIs, as well as offer many other services. They also work to research and expand on reproductive technology as well as advocate for the protection of reproductive rights. Millions of people use Planned Parenthood as a resource every year and the nonprofit holds over 600 health clinics across the country. One of their main goals is to help prevent unwanted pregnancies or to offer help if people become pregnant unintentionally. We are very lucky to have access to and support from such a great organization.
In early spring of last year, there were threats of a bill being passed working to defund Planned Parenthood altogether, stopping the flow of federal funds to the nonprofit and temporarily blocking it from participating in the Medicaid program. This would leave so many (especially young) people having to pay for support out of pocket or simply going without care at all. It would also force countless clinics across the board to close altogether.
As a group, we wanted to be able to do something relevant to what was going on currently, something where we could really bring people together to make change and to make a statement during such a heated time politically. This is where we came up with Circus for Change.
A good group of Youth Rise Together members do or have experience in circus arts or theater. A few of us participated in the Advanced Youth circus troupe at the New England Center for Circus Arts in Brattleboro, Vermont. The circus community is also a very tight knit group of dedicated people and we knew these youth artists would be equally passionate about performing for such a great cause and we hoped that this would be evident through the acts that people had already or pulled together for this fundraiser. After getting together a group of performers from the youth troupe at NECCA, setting a date, and a local venue, we began advertising and connecting with groups and people who we knew would be interested in supporting the cause. We ended up having two shows housed in a good friend and fellow artist’s barn. We all worked to rig, light, do sound, and perform for all who came to help raise money for Planned Parenthood.
Through selling tickets for both shows, selling concessions, and receiving donations from family, friends, and community members before and after the event, we were able to raise over $2,000 for Planned Parenthood. A few weeks later, Youth Rise Together took a trip to the local clinic in Springfield, MA to deliver the check and have a chance to meet with some of the staff and caregivers to ask questions and thank them for their commitment and support.
Youth Rise Together’s first fundraiser was definitely a success and really shone a light on what can be accomplished when people come together to create something, educate others, or show support. This motivation, enthusiasm, and unity is really what we need to be able to stand up, resist, and make a change.