Monday, December 8, 2014

Missouri Update: #MASFAP Conference Charity

(by Angela Karlin, Executive Council Missouri Representative) 

MASFAP held its annual conference November 5-7, 2014 at the beautiful Lake of the Ozarks. Attendees were treated to a robust agenda and great opportunities for networking and community service.  The agenda included tracks for newcomers, business officers and advanced financial aid professionals.  While all of our conferences have great content and fun times, this conference stood out more than most because of our community service focus.

Janice Barnes, MASFAP president, wanted to have an activity that would impact the community at this conference.  Through a chance meeting by an associate member, Melissa Findley, MASFAP connected with the Lake of the Ozarks "Idiots Club."  This charity was formed to help youth that live at or below the poverty line.  Their needs could be a new pair of shoes, a uniform for a sports team or a set of tires for a student that needs to get back and forth to work and school. 

You are probably imagining a clothes drive or a silent auction to raise funds, right?  Not even close!  MASFAP in partnership with our associate members had a shopping spree and scavenger hunt at a local outlet mall to help 50 high school students.  The highly competitive folks of MASFAP were divided into teams, given a tax exempt letter and $100 per student and the student’s wish list. The wish lists were the basics…warm socks, sleep pants and even a space heater.  If $100 didn’t cover the bill, team members gave their own funds to cover the costs!  We had two hours to shop for five kids per team and fulfill the goals of the scavenger hunt (and also tweet photos as folks completed items on the scavenger hunt list!).  The hunt for bargains and the scavenger hunt turned into a night to remember for all of us.  There were laughs and tears as we worked to make wishes come true.

Being in financial aid is all about making a difference in the lives of our students.  Often this difference is not seen immediately, but on this night at the lake, we saw it happen instantly.  I have never been more proud to be a part of MASFAP than I was that night in November!

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