Midtown Raleigh News

Midtown Muse: Enloe High School aims to raise $110,000 for Learning Together

Enloe High School student Luke Buxton interacts with students at Learning Together, a nonprofit that offers education services to children of all abilities. Enloe’s annual Charity Ball aims to raise $100,000 for Learning Together.
Enloe High School student Luke Buxton interacts with students at Learning Together, a nonprofit that offers education services to children of all abilities. Enloe’s annual Charity Ball aims to raise $100,000 for Learning Together. COURTESY OF ENLOE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT COUNCIL

Enloe High School’s StuCo – that’s teen talk for student council – is at it again.

This year the group is making big waves in early childhood education. Money raised through the11th annual Charity Ball will help Learning Together, a Southeast Raleigh nonprofit that provides early education and developmental and mental health services for children 18 months to 5 regardless of disability or socioeconomic status.

The Charity Ball, which is open to the public, will be Saturday, Dec. 12, at Marbles Kids Museum in downtown Raleigh.

Over the years, the student-run fundraiser has surpassed its goals. Last year, the event raised $95,000 for the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, a local group that aims to fight hunger.

This year’s goal is to write a check for $100,000 to Learning Together – and to add an additional $10,000 to that total by Dec. 20.

By Tuesday, students had tallied more than $40,000 in donations. That includes the Charity Ball’s first-ever $5,000 Gold Eagle Sponsor donation from Chiesi USA, a Cary company.

But students aren’t just raising money. They’re reflecting on the experience of learning about themselves and thinking about their future. And ours, too.

“We’re not trying to make a big name for ourselves,” said Christine Long, student body president at Enloe. “We just want to help people. It’s all about the heart of it. We’ve all gained so much from this community – the culture, the education and the opportunities it gives us.

“It’s really a privilege for us to be able to give back.”

Long said Learning Together is “a hidden gem.” Often, students choose local charities that seem more relatable to their lives than early childhood education and inclusion.

“But these are the kids who are going to be coming to our school and they’re going to be the new group of students raising $100,000 or more for charity,” said Emma O’Brien, Enloe’s vice president of service. “We’re building a legacy of how we want to fill our school by impacting their education.”

New events

This year, students enhanced the Charity Ball experience, adding new opportunities for all of us to be included, mirroring the mission of Learning Together.

“One of our goals this year is we really wanted our school to get involved, to be present at the charity we chose,” said Long, a senior. “One of the reasons we chose Learning Together is because they said they wanted to impact us the way we’ll impact them.

“They’re teaching us a lot about ourselves and our school that we need to change.”

For the past two months, members of student clubs at Enloe have dedicated two days a week to Learning Together. They have taught dance routines and hosted trunk-or-treat and other activities. The school’s yearbook staff and video production classes have scrapbooked it all.

At school, the Donate a Ticket program promotes inclusion by inviting students, or anyone else, to buy and donate a ticket to the Charity Ball so those who can’t afford it can attend.

There are new events this year, too.

Students will host a Mini Charity Ball for Learning Together after school on Friday, Dec. 4. That evening, artwork created by Enloe students and teachers and Learning Together students will be sold at auction at the Contemporary Art Museum of Raleigh.

Enloe musicians will perform Space Jam, a benefit concert open to the public Friday, Dec. 11.

‘Heavy issues’

Student council adviser and second-year English teacher Nate Barilich spent the summer with the Jamie Kirk Hahn Foundation, learning what fundraising, nonprofit and community development work looks like and how it happens.

Now he sees it every time his classroom transforms into a buzzing student council meeting.

“Students are talking about heavy issues,” said Barilich, a graduate of N.C. State University. “You don’t typically hear high school students talking about education policy, early childhood education, inclusion and graduation rates. They’re helping push policy issues forward and raising awareness around more than just helping charities.

“The monies they’re raising will be used to fight a systemic issue,” he continued. “It’s about hard work, grit and giving back.”

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Find out more

The Charity Ball will be from 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12, at Marbles Kids Museum in downtown Raleigh. Tickets range from $30-$50, with sponsorship opportunities available. For more information, including how to buy tickets, go to enloestuco.com/charity-ball-2015.

A Mini Charity Ball will be from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4, at the Contemporary Art Museum of Raleigh. Artwork will be sold at auction.

A Mini Charity Ball will be after school at Learning Together on Friday, Dec. 4, followed by an art auction from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Contemporary Art Museum of Raleigh.

Enloe High School musicians will perform Space Jam, a benefit concert open to the public, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11. Tickets are $15 and go on sale Tuesday, Dec. 1, at www.charityball.webconnex.com/2015.

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