Sports teams fundraise for charities

Sophie Haber

To give back to the larger community, some sports teams have started fundraising campaigns, raising thousands of dollars to benefit cancer patients and research. Others have started an effort to raise funds for the Los Angeles homeless population.

“I think it’s important for student athletes to do community service projects because it reminds us that life [exists] beyond ourselves,” cheer coach Octavia Ellison said.

Baseball players launched a campaign last week to support pediatric cancer, with a goal of raising at least $30,000.

Through the Vs. Cancer Foundation, an organization that encourages student athletes to work to fund childhood cancer efforts, half of money raised will go to Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA to supply chemotherapy for families that can’t afford it, and the other half will go towards national research grants.

This is the second year that all members of the baseball program will shave their heads to raise money and awareness for pediatric cancer.

In years prior, only the varsity team participated.

“As a team, we shave our heads as a symbolic gesture to show that we support these kids who are fighting such a terrible disease at such a young age,” varsity pitcher Adam Rich ’17 said.

For the past two years, Harvard-Westlake has been named the number one high school fundraising team for Vs. Cancer Foundation, according to the foundation’s website.

“It feels really good to be a part of it,” varsity pitcher Jarod Bacon ’17 said. “Knowing that we, as a program, are able to contribute to our community, and especially to a cause as important as this one, is really significant to us and is something that we enjoy doing.”

The cheer and basketball teams worked together to also raise money for Mattel by hosting two bake sales during the week of Dec. 5.

By selling shirts and baked goods during the basketball’s triple header game Dec. 9, as well as during the school day earlier that week, the teams raised around $10,000.

“As coaches, we try our best to cultivate a ‘we’ mentality in and out of cheer,” Ellison said. “The success of our program depends on how well we, and the entire Harvard-Westlake community, work together.”

The money raised will go towards hiring an art teacher for long term patients to provide an activity that they can enjoy during treatment.

“It’s good to know that so many people here are willing to give to a good cause,” JV point guard Emma Sunkin ’19 said. “A lot of the time people didn’t want to pay $10, but once we told them what it was for, they were so generous, and it was really nice.”

In a similar effort, as of press time the boxing club was set to sponsor a taco truck for “Taco Tuesday” on the quad Jan. 10. Profits will go to transitional housing organization LA Family Housing.

“I’m really proud of [the fundraisers led by sports teams] and the initiative that students are taking toward ‘purpose beyond ourself,’ to use words from our mission statement,” President Rick Commons said.