Washing to Win

On the cold Saturday morning of September 29th, 2001 Golden Keyers gather in Harris parking lot. As they look around they see dedicated N.C. State football fans all around. It is a big game day for the Wolfpack football team. They are playing our biggest rival. Everyone is wearing N.C. State paraphernalia. Some even have couches loaded on their trucks for tailgating. But these dedicated N.C. State Golden Keyers will not be participating in the festivities of the day. Instead they are going to a car wash.
Who would schedule a car wash for the same day as the biggest game of the year? Not the N.C. State Golden Key Chapter; but they sure are willing to help when someone needs it. The Carolina House of Cary was the benefactor of our work on this day.
The Carolina House is an assisted living facility. This means that patients there receive quality long term care but at the same time their dignity, independence, and choice is maximized. The residents are encouraged to maintain as much independence in their daily living routines as possible. They also do many things with Alzheimer patients and the Alzheimer's Association.
We get in our cars and drive to Cary. We arrive at the Carolina House to see two middle aged woman standing outside with some buckets, soap, and hoses. We get out of our cars and find these women joyous to see us. I look around and the Golden Keyers seem to be still half asleep and not as excited about the day. It is still early and cold so I guess that should be expected. Well things were soon to change. We wondered to the traffic light with big signs announcing "Car Wash". It was not long before we had our first customer. Were they driving a normal car? Nope, they were driving a Ford Excursion, the biggest vehicle on the market. We washed for fifteen or twenty minutes but our efforts proved to payoff in the end. Just like Ford as our corporate sponsor this person proved to be a cheerful giver. By this time many other cars had lined up to be washed. We continued to wash as fast as our scrubbers could scrub and the water would wash away the soap. Finally we got caught up long enough to take a short break. I went down to Dominos Pizza and they donated pizzas for our lunch. The afternoon went by rather slowly because we did not get many customers. Finally we washed our last car and counted our last dollar. Our final tally came up to over three-hundred dollars. We had earned over one-hundred dollars for each hour that we had worked.
I had never seen two people so excited about three-hundred dollars as were Jen and Heather (aliases for the two women at the Carolina House that set up the car wash). We found out why later. We already knew that all the money raised was going to the Alzheimer's Association and this excited us as well but we also found out that this fundraiser was part of a contest between the Carolina House and other assisted living facilities. Jen and Heather seemed to believe that this three-hundred dollars would give them the win. We shared their excitement as soon as we found out this.
What lesson is to be learned from this? Put others before yourself. We actually lost that football game but these Golden Keyers were winners along with everyone they helped. The car wash ended up being more fun and meaningful to many. I encourage you to be involved in service activities like this one, even when they are on big games days. Think about putting others before yourself, it can make a world of difference.


"Shacks on the brickyard?!?! What is this all about?" This is the question that many freshmen and transfer students at N.C. State ask each fall. To their surprise it does not take long for them to find out and they do not even have to ask. This annual event is called Shack-A-Thon.
Shack-A-Thon is sponsored by N.C. State chapter of Habitat for Humanity. The goal of the NC State Chapter of Habitat for Humanity is to aide in eliminating poverty housing everywhere. Shack-A-Thon proves to be there largest fundraiser each year. They also have a fundraising goal which is to raise enough money to build one house per year. This goal has not yet been attained but as many find out, over the course of Shack-A-Thon, every penny counts and they continue to get closer to their goal each year.
Now you are asking: "What exactly is this thing called 'Shack-A-Thon'?" During the week of Shack-A-Thon different student organizations have shacks which they built on the brickyard. So it is essentially a 'shack village'. This year the village consisted of nine shacks. The students construct the shacks on Sunday evening. Then beginning at 8am on Monday there must be someone in the shack twenty-four hours a day until Friday at 4pm.
Now I see you asking: "How does living in these shacks raise money?" Well that is a great question. We constantly asked students for spare change, dollars, or other monetary donations. The most common line heard by thousands and asked by hundreds is, "Would you like to donate to Habitat?" This year we raised over five-thousand dollars on the brickyard alone and this is the minor part of the fundraising. Most of the money comes from sponsors. A sponsor would be a person who donates a specified amount for each hour spent in the shack by their designated person. The total amount raised from Shack-A-Thon this year was an amazing .
This is the first year that the N.C. State chapter of Golden Key has participated in Shack-A-Thon but it will probably be an annual event from now on. A great time was had by all while raising money for Habitat as well as just hanging out with other Shack-A-Thoners. It was also fun building our shack as well as adding decorations to it throughout the week. Shack-A-Thon was also a huge campus awareness project for Golden Key, as our banner hung on our shack all week and Golden Key was painted on our shack as well.
We made certain that our shack had lots of character just as all Golden Key members themselves do. Our shack was called "The Tobacco Shack" and rightly so, since it was built out of old wooden tobacco boxes. This was a good material since N.C. State was basically built on tobacco money back in 1887. The boxes even still had the batch stamps on them. And they were dated from 1976 which is the same year that Habitat for Humanity began. Ask any Golden Key member from N.C. State and they will let you know that the Golden Key shack had more character than any other shack. Everyone had a good time raising money for a great cause. This project proved to us that many times you can have lots of fun while raising money for a great cause.