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2019-12-29 TNKR Global High School fundraiser for Durihana Refugee School

TNKR co-founders Casey Lartigue and Eunkoo Lee were featured guests at a TNKR High School Global Union concert fundraiser for the Durihana School for North Korean refugee adolescents.

I remember when two high school students (Jun and Eugene) came to me, saying they wanted to be volunteer tutors, but I challenged them to think more broadly. We have many volunteer tutors, but we urgently need to build up the organization's capacity.

We occasionally have high school kids pop up, want to volunteer for a day or for a few weeks, then ask for a certificate. It is rare to get high school kids who adapt to what we need, then build an entire project out of it.

Jun and Eugene have built an incredible project that has now raised about 9 million won ($7,800) for TNKR this year and have another 8 million won ($6,900) pledged in the future through 2022. We are saving this money for our eventual move to a new office.

Last night, the Global TNKR High School Global Union raised 3 million won (almost $2,600) for the Durihana School.

I was delighted to speak and to learn more about the school. Eunkoo had told me to be ready to speak, but it wasn't until about two minutes before I was on stage that I thought about what I would say. I had three main points on my mind.

1) "Everybody bring somebody." The students didn't try to do everything on their own--they brought other high schools and their moms.

2) Find the main need. A problem with so many people looking to volunteer is that they don't take time to figure out how they can help. To be effective at volunteer, you need to spend some time learning about the organization. As I wrote a few years ago: "To donate, investigate." When I told the kids that fundraising was our main need, they didn't shriek in horror. Instead, they found a way!

3) Well done is better than well said. We have some people who come to us, suggesting that we do this or that, there is an endless to-do list based on recommendations from others. What have is few people who then follow up! One volunteer who came to me had a whole list of things that she thought TNKR should be doing. Finally, I asked her, "Who do you think should be doing all of those things? We have such a small staff and limited resources." I will give her credit for saying what others must have been thinking. "You." Some people complain that I don't listen to constructive criticism. What I listen for these days is suggestions about who--besides me--will get the long to-do list done.

Last night's fundraiser was organized by the high school kids, they asked us a few things, but otherwise, they got it done!

The parents were taking photos of us!

The high school kids have done a lot, but more importantly, they brought their mothers with them to help!

We occasionally have high school kids pop up, want to volunteer for a day or for a few weeks, then ask for a certificate. It is rare to get high school kids who adapt to what we need, then build an entire project out of it.

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I often get questions about TNKR. We had a page but somehow I keep losing track of it on our main website, which isn't very Casey-friendly. I will start answering questions on this page, then when we get a Webmaster for the TNKR page, the person can upload this there.
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