Team Titans Go!

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A group of students at West Hartford’s Hall High School have formed Titans for Change, as co-candidates for the Leukemia and the Lymphoma Society Student Visionaries of the Year Program.

By Grace Wright-Goodison, Dhurshanie Ramlall and Niya Bramble

High school students receive a lot of emails from colleges, from teachers, from businesses.

On Sept. 22, 2022, the entire Hall High School population received an email that would change the course of three students’ senior year: it asked for students to become candidates in an upcoming fundraising campaign. While the students received the email in September, it wasn’t until early October that Dhurshanie Ramlall asked Grace Wright-Goodison if she had seen the message and was interested in joining the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Student Visionaries of the Year Campaign which would run kick off on Feb. 3 and end on March 24 with a Grand Finale event.

LLS is the largest nonprofit dedicated to creating a world without blood cancers by funding research for cures and treatments, driving advocacy for policies that protect patients’ access to treatments, and supporting and providing families with resources.

“I joined the campaign because the mission of LLS resonated with me,” Ramlall said. “Multiple of my family members have/had different types of cancer and I’ve seen the terrible effects cancer has on a person. So, by fundraising for LLS, I feel like I’m part of positive change in our world.”

Soon after, Wright-Goodison and Ramlall decided to ask Niya Bramble to be the third candidate (leader) of their campaign and they began to plan. First they came up with their team name, Titans for Change (TFC), and decided to focus their efforts on fundraising for patient effort and support. The campaign began on Feb. 3, but TFC was inspired to get ahead and earn membership into the Candidate Hall of Fame, which required having 10 team members, a personal ask, a list of mailing and email contacts and 2 planning meetings all complete before the kickoff.

By winter break, they had gathered a list of contacts to send fundraising letters to, asked a local business for an auction item, and had goal planning meetings with their campaign development manager, Catherine Morley. By January of 2023, they had gathered a multigenerational team of 12 others including their parents, Wright-Goodison’s grandmother, their former teacher, and a recent high school graduate.

Titans for Change’s grand plan was to reach out to other schools in their district to educate students about blood cancer and get them involved in the fundraising process.

“When Grace and Dhurshanie reached out to me to help with the campaign I knew that it would be well worth my time,” Bramble reflected. “This campaign has really helped me to become more of a leader in my community through engaging with public schools and local businesses to raise funds and awareness for this cause.”

The three emailed and called all eleven elementary schools and three middle schools as well as reaching out to their own high school and a variety of local businesses. They were able to secure partnerships with six elementary schools and one middle school. Titans for Change sent each school a fundraising video and a presentation teaching students about blood cancer to educate youth about the cause.

“The fifth grade class at Braeburn has been delighted to have had the opportunity to partner with Hall’s Titans for Change to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society,” Braeburn educators commented. “The kids really enjoyed raising awareness about these childhood cancers by making posters and delivering morning announcements to the Braeburn community.”

Titans for Change’s first small event was a bake sale at the annual Luv Concert held at King Philip Middle School. Titans for Change’s first big fundraising efforts took place around Valentine’s Day. First, they advertised $1 candy grams in the cafeteria, every day from Feb. 3 until Feb. 10. Then they created and distributed them for Feb. 14.

On that same day, they held a Red Out Day at Webster Hill Elementary School with the help of one of their team members. Partnering with another Student Visionary Team (there are four at Hall), they also held a Red Out Day at their own school. Titans for Change reached out to their National Honor Society Advisor and received help from several members to host a morning parade, standing outside of the school as students were dropped off to spread awareness of the cause and gather donations.

TFC and the other team set up donation bins around the school and sat in the cafeteria during lunch waves. On social media, they posted a Valentine’s themed bingo board with a challenge for their followers to donate certain amounts to cross off five numbers in a row.

Currently, Titans for Change is focused on planning a dodgeball tournament at King Philip Middle School which will take place on March 7 with the help of two PE teachers and the school’s PTO. They also have a Hall tournament in the planning stages for March 16. Additionally, there are three Red Out Days happening on March 3 and three more scheduled for later in the month.

Titans for Change’s last big event will be a 5K Fun Run at 9:30 a.m. on March 18 located on the grounds behind KP. More information about the event will be available soon.

“LLS has been part of my life even before this campaign,” Wright-Goodison remarked. “My late grandfather was supported by LLS from 2015 until 2020. This program is an opportunity for me to honor his memory and provide the resources he received to current Leukemia and Lymphoma patients.”

To support Titans for Change, you can donate by going to: https://events.lls.org/ctwhv/svoygct23/tchange

To contact Titans for Change about their events, gift matching businesses, purchasing a program ad for Grand Finale and/or sponsoring the team, email: [email protected]

Follow their journey on Instagram: @titansforchange

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