St Mary’s Secondary School in Ballina, has become synonymous with fundraising down through the years. As a school community, we have embraced fundraising as one of the core elements of our Pastoral Care/ Social Awareness programmes
In order to plan and timetable effectively, we limit our fundraising events to one major drive per term. The adopted charities are balanced between local, national and international causes – with room to facilitate responses to major disasters when necessary. Examples of this include: the purchase of a boat following the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004, proceeds of one night of the Transition Year Annual Musical in 2010 to victims of the Haiti Earthquake, and more recently we embarked on a fundraising drive to assist Cystic Fibrosis West with their CF unit in Mayo General Hospital.
Thankfully such emergencies are rare and fundraising proceeds as normal with the first term devoted to a local Charity –the local branch of St Vincent de Paul. Support is given in many different ways -many of our Transition Years volunteer to work in the local branch as part of their Gaisce Award/Social Outreach Programme, more by become members of Junior St Vincent de Paul and our LCVP class join the major nationwide collection effort at Christmas. Donated items include: food, toys, make-up and jewellery (all-Girls School!). On the day of the School Holidays, the Staff present the Students and St Vincent de Paul with their gift for Christmas –The Staff Christmas Panto! Since the early 90s this has become an annual and much anticipated event. All proceeds from the door go to St Vincent de Paul.
In recognition of International poverty, St. Mary’s participates in the National Christmas “Shoe – Box” Appeal. Our students donate and collect age- appropriate clothes, toys etc for children in developing countries.I
In the second term, our International Fundraising effort coincides with Lent. Traditionally the recipient was either Trocaire or Concern with staff and TY Students embarking on a 24 hour Fast and all proceeds being presented at Easter. In recent years other causes have been espoused such as Goal or the more recently established Mercy International Trust where one of our retired Mercy Staff members now works.
Since its inception in the early 1990s the ‘Jump for Joy’ fundraiser has been the focus our third term and National Fundraising appeal. From humble beginnings, when it was purely a Basketball Marathon, all funds raised went to Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin
Over the years the humble ‘Jump for Joy’ has grown and morphed into today’s Kelloggs ‘Funraise for Kids’ which is now one of the biggest schools fundraising initiatives in Ireland. As the initiative itself grew so did the interest and enthusiasm among schools. To acknowledge this, Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin began rewarding the most successful fundraising school with a beautiful perpetual cup the ‘Tom Collins Trophy’ and a €500 voucher for Sports Equipment.
St Mary’s still holds the record for winning the Tom Collins Trophy. In 2009 and 2012 the TY girls and their teachers came up with the idea of World Record breaking attempts for the largest number of people in a high heel race and doing “Rock The Boat” The school was awarded Guinness World Records, a visit from the Apprentice stars Bill Cullen and Jackie Lavin, while raising over €10,000 for Our Lady’s Hospita