Portales FCCLA chapter outpaces others in fund-raising

By Casey Peacock:

Portales High School Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, Inc. (FCCLA) has captured national distinction for fund-raising efforts connected with the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

The PHS chapter was honored for its achievement at the FCCLA 2006 National Leadership Meeting, held in July, in Nashville, Tenn. The group received a plaque for raising the most money of any FCCLA chapter in the nation during the FCCLA and ACS national outreach project.

The PHS FCCLA raised over $20,000 for the ACS. New Mexico was responsible for raising over $33 per chapter member, the most per member across the nation according to Dorothy Nelson, ACS Community Relationship Manager.

FCCLA chapters across the nation participated in a community service project which required participation in area Relay for Life events. The Portales chapter took the task one step further and put together the relay itself, according to FCCLA advisor Debbie Stenstrom.

Nelson called and asked the Portales High FCCLA chapter to host and put together the Relay for Life event. Roosevelt County only hosts the event every other year, said Stenstrom.

“If we had not hosted the event, it would not have taken place. We had participated in five or six Relay for Life’s as a team,” said Stenstrom.

With only two months to prepare for the relay, 24 kids from the PHS FCCLA chapter worked together to put the relay on. The students were in charge of everything that had to be done. Students helped either in the classroom or during the event itself. Past members and students also came out and helped with whatever needed to be done, Stenstrom said.

“They just did an awesome job. The example these young people set was really amazing. To my knowledge, this is the only community that young people hosted and put on the entire event,” Nelson said.

Approximately 27 teams participated in the event. They helped raise money by selling luminarias, playing games, and one team hosted a dodgeball tournament. Music was also provided during the relay by local musicians and Greyhound Arena provided the space for the students to hold the relay, Stenstrom said.

“The community support was great. It was a huge success and the participants had a great time. We raised a lot of money for the American Cancer Society. The teams did a really great job of raising money in a short amount of time,” Stenstrom said.

The chapter is working with the FCCLA chapters from Texico High School and Yucca Junior High School in Clovis, in the hopes of putting together another relay for life event in the spring sometime, Stenstrom said.

“We would like to see Roosevelt County have a relay every year, because cancer does not take a rest, Stenstrom said. For me personally, my mom has cancer and my dad has died from cancer.”