With the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, an increasing number of people were in need. As unemployment rates skyrocketed and food insecurity became more prevalent, two teenagers from the Cary/Apex area - Sonali and Shayna - discussed ways to create a positive impact in a virtual setting. Conversations with peers led them to the realization that many high school students wanted to create a change in their community, but didn’t have the necessary resources or guidance to do so. They realized that with their backgrounds in service and existing connections with nonprofits, they could be the ones to teach up-and-coming community service leaders at the high school level. As a result, on September 21st, 2020, General Services Foundation was born.
Traditional methods of fundraising, such as dances and benefit nights, were no longer feasible - which sparked creative thinking and out-of-the-box ideation! At first, there were many limitations regarding the types of projects that could be pursued, but they quickly came up with unique and simple solutions to work around those barriers. They took advantage of the numerous digital resources available to them, so they could connect with a large community of students in Wake County and brainstorm COVID-friendly service projects.
Through General Services, Sonali, Shayna, and Vrutika, who now make up the Executive Board, mentors members through the entire process of planning and executing their service projects. General Services ensures that its members have the flexibility to choose how they want to make a difference in those around them with their projects. We provide the proper resources and mentorship in order to make these projects as successful as possible. In a matter of 15 months, the organization hosted over 30 drives and 30 fundraisers. Over $20,000 was raised and over 20,000 items were collected, including books, clothing, stuffed animals, feminine hygiene products, and cleaning supplies, all going to various local organizations.
Seeing the impact they were able to create within these three months, they set their goals high for the first half of 2021. Their hopes are to build more connections and relationships with more members of the community and surrounding nonprofits. They want to broaden their scope by opening up several new chapters within different cities, schools, and even nationwide. The Executive Board wants to empower members and assist them in taking on larger projects to give back to their community. With the astounding progress to date, General Services believes that with the partnership of our community, we can reach our goal.