Fund raising at non-for-profit orgnizations

(Update 28-Feb-2017) Just got back from the book fair in Spoede school, camp read a lot. It’s a lot of efforts from the volunteers and the teachers. At the same time a lot fun for the little kids and the families. Part of the profit goes to the SSA (the parent association of the school).

(Original) I have some experience on this topic, when I was a new graduate student at Rolla, I worked on the phone asking the alumni for donation during phonathon. That’s from the asking end.

When I started to working, I listened to local NPR station (KWMU) for news and english learning, I know from time to time they also have the fundraising campaign. During that time they pause the program, and ask people to call in and give money. After a few years, finally I pulled the plug and called them.

Nowadays as my daughters started attending schools and they usually have parents association that support the schools. The St. Louis Children’s Choirs my old daughter participated is a non-for-profit organization too. There are a few common ways to raise the money: silent auction (or not-so-silent-auction), trivial/bingo games, the affiliation programs such as scripts program at Schnucks, Amazon shopping, and box-on-top. There are also some events like eating out night (restaurant donate a part of revenue/profit to school). So really it’s whatever it works: bring money from multiple revenue streams. For the trivia night/silent auction or live auction, usually people bring own drink (alcohols), unless it’s a family friendly event in which alcohol is not allowed. It seems to me sometimes the bidding become more intense with all the alcohols :-)

This year my daughter’s school did something different, they did a raffle. I think raffle (sweepstakes) is not uncommon, except in this case I think the each entry is a bit too costly ($100). I think $100 is not small money in many families, also keep in mind in some culture or religion sweepstakes (gamble) is not a good idea :-)

So here is my 2 cents. I think small non-for-profit organization fundraising is a bit like a small business trying to survive, again I feel this is one reason the multiple revenue streams. Some passive (affiliation); some active (trivial/auction/eat out). Coming from China which does not have this sort of thing, I feel this is interesting.

Remembering my middle school teacher 姚仁汉老师

昨晚在初中群里面惊闻我的初中物理老师姚仁汉老师,因病去世,年仅56(虚岁)。这里有相关的介绍, 还有这里, 和这里

姚老师大学一毕业就来镇海中学(84年),我们(初二)是他的第一批学生,教了两年(初二初三)。除了教书,他还组织物理兴趣小组。记得他带我们坐公交汽车去他的母校(宁波师范大学)参观,这是我第一次看到天文望远镜。98年我有机会回到母校镇中,有幸遇见他,当时他好像已经是领导,负责整个初中部教学工作。记得他还是是憨憨的老样子。现在算来,他当时大学毕业(22岁),我们初二(13岁),他大我们十岁都不到。他就是我们的兄长。

借用一句兄弟班同学的唁文“人生有幸,在最好的年纪遇上最好的老师”。。。

Worst flu in recent memory

So here in Missouri, around February, is also the worst of the flu season. This year is the worst for a long time. I knew I got it at the New Year’s eve, and about 4 weeks later, I am not fully recovered. The problem was I had to work in the Saturday night/Sunday morning after new year (Feb 4/5 weekend), though it did not made my situation worse, it did not made my life any easier either. My two daughters also got it. They were off school in the week of Feb 6 for 3 and 4 days, respectively. I had to work from home, and did some juggernaut, and tried stay in the game. I did get flu shot, but my girls did not. I had some fever on Feb 3 and 17. My old daughter got fever again this week, started Sunday night/Monday morning. My wife think one reason was we did not dry her hair after swimming. Oh well, this is the worst flu season I have seen for a while. I heard many school kids and teachers got sick, naturally due to their environment. Work place may work better if we can issue a work from home memorandum.

My coworker also mentioned the V8 and advil to fight this off. Not sure whether this is effective or not, as I am not a V8 fan (tomato juice).

Montessori, Reggio and Waldorf schools in St. Louis

Those schools are considered speciality schools, because they have their own philosophy, which is NOT exactly the same as other private schools (both sectarian and non-sectarian).

Pre-school
Schools that care and educate the younger ones, some even have infant class.
A growing place: it’s located at Forsyth and Big Bend road, next to Washington U. Danforth campus. It’s a small school, but I heard very good things about them from two people (one montessori teacher, and one parent).

Faith Academy of Montessori: Housed in a historic 19th century train station in the heart of Webster Groves, Faith Academy is a Montessori preschool and kindergarten serving children and their families since 1982.

Hope Montessori: they have many campuses but our favorite is the original one Creve Coeur. Also noted the infant toddler community. My old daughter attended there for 3 years (from 1.5 years old to 4.5 years old; from toddler to preschooler). The only downside I can see is the cost, the environment and teachers qualify is the best in STL.

Kirkwood Children’s House: founded by Florence Kramer in 1985, is a Montessori preschool dedicated to the care and education of children ages 18 months to six year old.

Visitation Academy: Viz is an independent, Catholic school offering a co-educational Montessori program in Grades Toddler through Kindergarten…

RainTree school: emma reggio themed pre-school. I heard from my coworker. It’s a fairly new school, and they emphasize the outdoors (if you don’t mind wash kiddo’s clothes). Also they have some discount if you pay the whole year tuition in advance.

The Waldorf School of St. Louis: the only Waldorf school in St. Louis, located in a Webster Groves neighborhood (residential area). They also have elementary school.

Elementary schools
Schools have elementary schools (or higher grades).
Chesterfield Day School: Beginning in our Toddler program through First Grade, Chesterfield Day School’s premier Montessori School bridges to a strong and distinctive secondary school preparation program with personalized methodologies woven throughout.

Chesterfield Montessori: “Chesterfield Montessori School was founded in 1981 as a private school serving children ages three to six. Today CMS is a well-established, non-profit school recognized by AMI (Association Montessori Internationale) offering authentic Montessori programs at all levels from toddlers (16 months) through 15 years…” Six years ago I toured the school on a sunny day after snow, a gorgeous view of the school, and wonderful facilities. I learned the “mixed ages kids in same class” from that visit.

St. Michael’s School (about us): reggio approach is used. This may sound a bit surprising to some but note Visitation academy (catholic school) offers Montessori (see above)

Which school to choose?
This is very personal (individual family has to make this decision). Note there are many excellent public (Ladue, Clayton, Lindburgh, Kirkwood etc.), and private schools in the St. Louis metropolitan area.

Also see the link here, here and here.

To be continued…

Asian restaurant near O’fallon MO area

So far I went to 3, listed below.

The rice bowl (Korean): yelp. Address below:
7895 Mexico Rd
St. Peters, MO 63376

Thai Kitchen: yelp
3899 Veterans Memorial Pkwy
Saint Peters, MO 63376

KiTARO Bistro of Japan: (website, yelp)
4551 Hwy K
O’Fallon, MO 63368

I will add more as I find more :-)

Also, some new Chinese restaurants I recently visited:
Cate Zone
Chef Ma’s Chinese gourmet
Corner 17

Remembering my middle school teacher 周国夫老师

今晚在高中群里突然听到我的初中班主任数学老师,省劳动模范周国夫三年前已去世。下面的博客中有周老师的照片。我从初中到镇海中学住宿读书,一个月回一次家,从某种意义上讲,周老师就是我们这些住宿生的父亲。我也受到周老师很多影响,尤其是学习(自学)方法和态度方面。他的数学课布置很多讲义(作业),他会讲解一些题,但主要是要自学。记得我们初一自学初二内容,以此类推。他有时又很大方,比如说数学课以后是英语考试,他说你们看英语吧。刚到镇中不久,有一次我发烧,有点严重,他和一些同学带我上医院,忙前忙后。现在想起来就像我对我的小孩一样。

这里有一个关于周老师的简短介绍

我说美国大选: II

这可能是我写博客以来隔得最久的两篇相关文章。我说美国大选: I在这里。时隔八年,从上一次Obama”Yes We Can”到这一次Trump”Make America Great Again”. 从Google Search Engine Optimization(打败希拉里的主要原因之一,当时Facebook只是起步阶段)到这次Trump基本上垄断Twitter(参考12)。引用第一篇文章的一句话:

But if the presidential election was a Twitter popularity contest—and thank God it’s not—one thing is clear: Trump would win by a landslide.

其实Internet和Web从2004年就被采用,当年HOWARD DEAN用的Tool是Meetup,这个网站有点不温不火,现在还是一个IT User Group常用的聚会工具。

这一次Trump居然赢了。其实我认为核心原因还是美国选民思变,奥巴马8年执政,在很多方面推行过于Liberal的政策,比如说这个学校LGBT学生上哪个厕所,他老人家(他手下的教育部的人)要公立学校允许LGBT学生挑选她/他们认为合适的厕所。这个事引起很大反响/反感。当然还有经济上的原因。这十几年,说实话,中产阶级,尤其是蓝领,工作被外包,日子江河日下。这个是关键(从小布什到奥巴马)。新媒体有影响,但应该是次要的。

Fitbit is losing momentum

Why I am saying that?

I am the only active person among my “Fitbit friends”. So I assume it could means a few things:
1) All my friends stopped wearing Fitbit;
2) All my friends did not sync (or their Fitbit could not sync, which I admit is a real problem for Fitbit);
3) All my friends got Apple watch (or something nicer, good for them :-)

IMG_5651

The stock (NYSE:FIT) has been absolutely horrible YTD, or to be more exact since its IPO about 15 months ago. I am glad my trades worked out this year though :-)

FIT_trades

I am speculating one reason is Apple Watch is taking off. Although I tried to stay away from that $300+ “need to be charged daily, always on” gadget, it seems it’s the inevitable with the so called “series 2”. I feel the nike+ version with the swimming is the way to go. Now if I could offload a few items on ebay to make the $300 bucks…

Transition to first grade

Serenity started 1st grade this fall. Same school. I have some ideas on first grade, mostly around the homework, “more serious school” vs. the kindergarten which has more play time. I learned from fellow parents last year when they talked about it after MFS (I volunteered there).

Seeing is believing. Serenity now has been in 1st grade for over a month. Some impressions:
1) More work, either schoolwork or the work we gave her.

2) More seriousness, definitely, she got a tardy slip (her first) because we were late in the morning, we were probably late for 2 or 3 minutes (but still late, no excuse here), as I saw we were the only car in the car pool lane which is the only time like this.

3) More pressure, or expectations, besides on time, they were expected to listen more carefully when the teacher talks, and follow directions quickly, etc.

Those are my initial impressions, after a bit over a month school.

What kind of person I like my daughters to become

1) Confident, independent (not blindly follow other or influenced by others opinion), strong (not easily quit, grit, or perseverance) ;

2) Empathy, humility, know how to wear other people’s shoes and feel other people’s pain (同情心);

3) 不卑不亢(english translation? It seems bullet 1 covers this too. List it here as this is my father taught me, likely from his own life experience.);

4) Grounded, down to earth. Don’t take self too seriously, have a sense of humor. 平易近人, 幽默感。