While a party and some cake are a good way to celebrate most birthdays, Kate Conyers wanted to do something extra special for her milestone year.
With a strong commitment to volunteer work and bettering the community, Conyers decided to use her birthday as a chance to fundraise for a cause close to her heart.
During her time as a student at the S.J. Quinney College of Law, Conyers was introduced to organizations that focused on helping and providing resources for young people who face homelessness. This cause became important to Conyers and she continued to be involved after she graduated.
In recent years, Conyers has become a frequent volunteer and supporter of the Volunteers of America Homeless Youth Resource Center (VOA HYRC) in Salt Lake City.
“I have been volunteering with the VOA HYRC for about five years in a few different respects –at the legal clinic, helping youth clear warrants, making and serving meals, and hosting an annual prom,” Conyers said. “I really enjoy my time with the youth and I want to do my part with helping this vulnerable group.”
Conyers set an ambitious goal for herself – raise $40,000 for the VOA HYRC in the 40 days following her 40th birthday.
“Honestly, I didn’t think it could be done,” she said. “But I knew any amount of money would be appreciated.”
Conyers posted on social media nearly every day to rally support and called on her colleagues, former classmates, and other members of the legal community to help spread the word.
Like Conyers, many of the donors were lawyers and several of them provided generous matching grants of up to $1,000 to help with donation efforts. These matching grants helped the fundraising campaign gain momentum and reach even more eyes.
The fundraising campaign extended beyond the legal field, with community members, family, and friends answering the call and chipping in as well. One special donor was young Arlo, age seven, who made and sold friendship bracelets to raise money for the cause and even donated $5 he had recently received from the Tooth Fairy.
“One of my favorite things about the fundraiser isn’t just the amount we raised, but the fact that over 370 individual donors gave money and so many more were introduced and educated about the HYRC and its efforts in our community to provide resources to youth experiencing homelessness,” Conyers said.
The fundraising campaign met – and far surpassed – its 40k goal. The end result was $53,000 raised for the VOA HYRC, with the money going to the general VOA HYRC fund as well as special projects like youth employment coordination and outreach programs.
These funds were especially critical this year, as the COVID-19 pandemic forced many foundations and donors to stop or reduce their regular contributions
But this campaign didn’t just raise money – it also raised awareness for the VOA HYRC and encouraged more volunteer participation.
“I’m so impressed with how many people have volunteered at the HYRC and have contacted the center about volunteer opportunities as a result of this fundraising campaign,” Conyers said.
Both the funds and the influx of new volunteers will help support the VOA HYRC’s mission to be a bridge to self-reliance and health for vulnerable young individuals.
For information about donating to or volunteering with the Volunteers of America Homeless Youth Resource Center, visit https://www.voaut.org/yrc.