August 21, 2006 was not only the start of classes at Sam Houston State University, but it was also the first day of the candidate selection process for Adopt-A-Heart.
Adopt-A-Heart is a student organization on campus that ‘adopts’ a critically ill person every year. The person adopted by AAH, their candidate, is always related to an SHSU student in some way. The candidate selection process for Adopt-A-Heart generally begins at the start of the school year and closes at the end of the September. Each year, however, the candidate selection process proves to be difficult for the organization. As they require that individuals seeking to nominate someone write a 300-500-word essay, the responses are slow in coming. The essay process is necessary, however. The submitted essays read by each member and voted on, not once, but twice. Once the process has concluded and the candidate has been identified, the organization spends the rest of the academic year raising awareness about the illness, as well as fundraising to donate money to the candidate.
“Every year, we do our best to meet our goal, if not exceed our goal. We started off with a financial goal of $500 our first semester. Our 2006-2007 financial goal is $3000,” said Genique Gilmore, Adopt-A-Heart vice president.
Their first candidate was the Adopt-A-Heart founder’s cousin, a cancer patient, and the organization awarded him $500. The next year, the organization adopted a SHSU student’s mother, who had sickle cell anemia. Their goal was $1000 and they awarded the candidate $1500. The past school year, their candidate had lung cancer, and although she passed before the school year concluded, the organization was still able to contribute their goal of $2500 to the candidate’s family.
To raise money, Adopt-A-Heart hosts several fundraisers.
“We try to come up with new and innovative fundraisers, things that people will come to and that we will have fun doing,” said AAH member Evette Cornish.
The organization boasts close to 100 paid members and all will admit that being a member is fun but it is also hard work. Along with fundraising, AAH also hosts seminars about the illness that they have adopted for the year, educating the campus about the illness that they have adopted for the year, educating the campus about illness and preventative measures that can be taken. Students that are not members are even inspired by the organization’s focus.
“It makes me proud to know that an organization like this exists,” said SHSU sophomore Brandon Soliz.
Adopt-A-Heart’s 2006-2007 candidate selection process ends on September 30. For more information, students can stop by the AAH table in the LSC mall area every Wednesday from 12-1 p.m., attend the Adopt-A-Heart meetings on Tuesday’s at 5:30 p.m. in LDB 214 or contact Vice President Genique Gilmore at email@example.com.