Fundraising is an essential part of operating any nonprofit, and the MNUDL is no stranger to it. But we had a pleasant surprise the other day when Sukriti Rawal, a high school student from Edina, told us she had been raising funds for the MNUDL too. On her own initiative Sukriti organized and managed a garage sale, and now she had $500 to donate.
Gifts like that don’t usually just show up out of nowhere. But Sukriti has been debating for five years now, and she says it’s given her the confidence she needs for projects like this. That’s what has kept her coming back for five years – debating impacts every part of her life. She said “it made school a lot easier,” since she’s become better at thinking on her feet and at feeling certain when she is right.
That’s the kind of certainty that drives a student to success. “Debate is important for everyone,” Sukriti said. But unlike at her school in Edina, urban schools rely on the MNUDL to coordinate their debate programs. So she decided to support Urban Debate by holding a garage sale – by her reasoning, people are more willing to give money if they get something in exchange.
So much stuff was donated to the sale that it took Sukriti a week to go through and tag it all with prices. To get everything she would be selling, she mobilized the support of families in Edina, and was especially grateful for the help she received from the Indian community. Once everything was set up, she advertised it with local signs and on Craigslist. All this hard work made the sale wildly successful, raising enough funds to hit the target that Sukriti had set.
Here at the office, we’re flattered to see engagement like this just showing up unprompted. It speaks not only to the leadership abilities that debate programs nurture, but also to the relationships that get built between debaters. By attending UDL tournaments, Sukriti has had the opportunity to meet other students from the metro area. Students have varied lived experiences – but all come together in a shared love of debate. She’s chosen to strengthen those relationships and work to keep debate an activity that includes everyone.