When Academy student Bimba '21 started out on her campaign to raise money for residents of the North Shore community who suffer from food insecurity, she was nervous she would not meet her goal of raising $2,000. Then she quadrupled it.
Bimba '21 set out to raise money for Acord Food Pantry in Hamilton, MA in November 2018 with a Kickstarter campaign called "Mac & Tees by Bimba". Inspired by companies like Bombas and TOMS, Bimba's Kickstarter description notes that she "set out on a design journey to create apparel that is both fashionable and supportive of our community." With each level of donation, supporters received a long sleeve t-shirt and/or a beanie hat with a logo that Bimba created.
The logo was created after Bimba was drawing a boy's face one day with markers that her brother had given her and "she knew she had something. It was simple, cute, and (I thought) it would look great on a t-shirt."
It was not her first time fundraising for Acord. When she and her brothers were younger, they stood outside local supermarkets and sold beeswax candles to raise money for Acord. In the three years that they made and sold beeswax candles, they raised almost $14,000 for Acord.
Bimba chose to raise money for a cause close to home rather than the greater Boston area, she says, because she feels "it is her duty as a member of Essex Country to help the less privileged families around us battle food insecurity first". Bimba is truly living our school motto, non sibi sed allis ("not for self, but for others").
Governor's school motto defines an integral part of the Academy experience. For many students, the sense of fulfillment they earn from helping others and giving of themselves encourages them to remain civic-minded and community-oriented throughout their lives.
After quadrupling her goal and raising over $8,000 for Acord, Bimba was overwhelmed. "To be completely honest, I started crying. It was so exciting, invigorating, and all around insane. I never expected my project to do so well- I barely expected it to succeed," says Bimba.
She says she knew about Govenor’s community service requirement - each Governor’s student must complete a minimum of 100 hours of community service before graduation- but that she "didn’t just want to do community service."
Bimba wanted to make her impact on her community by doing something a little different. She says her perspective on the community service "requirement" completely changed when she reached $4,000 in donations. "It had finally set in that this wasn't just a way to get hours, and the fact that I would be selling my designs on t-shirts wasn't the main goal anymore. I realized the goodness of people, that they are willing to support others. In a world full of evil, and violence, it’s nice to know and actually see compassion for others who need our help," she says.
Bimba notes that the support from her teachers for her idea left her feeling truly thankful. "What I love about being a student here is that there are unlimited opportunities. No matter if it’s a class you want to pursue, an art project that isn't part of a specific class, or, in my case, a social enterprise project, Govs has teachers who are willing to help you reach your goal, and give you the freedom and resources to pursue your dreams."
Bimba says at first she worried that her idea for the fundraiser would be turned down because it was less traditional than other community service projects. But when she met with Community Service Coordinator Mrs. Gold, "she accepted my idea with open arms, and told me that she couldn't see why I wouldn't be able to pursue it, and sent me on my way. I am truly thankful for the amazing teachers we have here at Govs."