The California School of the Arts (CSArts) Paper Bridges Chapter organized a national Panda Express fundraiser on December 8, 2020, to raise money for Paper Bridges and bring the community together. The fundraiser raised over 380 dollars. One hundred dollars covered the shipping costs to send personal protective equipment to foster youth. The remaining money has been allocated to science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) kits for middle and high school students living in reservations.
The CSArts Chapter wanted to host a restaurant fundraiser in accordance with CDC guidelines. Because club members live in different cities, the chapter leadership sought a restaurant chain in which the same fundraising code could be used at different locations. Natalie Min, CSArts Treasurer, researched restaurants that offered such accommodations and discovered that Panda Express held fundraisers using a code that could be used at any Panda Express location in the United States.
After the chapter fundraiser was approved by CSArts and Panda Express, chapter leadership spent roughly one month promoting the fundraiser through their monthly club meetings, Instagram, and other platforms. Prior to the event, CSArts President Jen Austin messaged the official Paper Bridges Instagram, requesting that their account and other Paper Bridges chapters post the fundraiser on their Instagrams. Although only intended as a small chapter initiative, Emily Yuan, Co-Founder of Paper Bridges, expanded the event by advertising it as an official Paper Bridges fundraiser.
The fundraiser was successful in providing resources to Indigenous youth, with money being raised to create and send STEAM kits to students living in reservations. This was especially important during COVID-19, as the pandemic has particularly impacted children’s social, emotional, and mental well-being.
The goal of the STEAM kits is to support vulnerable youth living in reservations with a focus on Indigenous culture. The kits are intended to offer young people another way to interact with their culture and history while providing a safe, at home, learning experience. The recipients will be provided an array of materials to allow them to strengthen their critical thinking.
Ultimately, the STEAM kits will allow students to explore and express themselves creatively and find their identity. The kits will include basic art supplies, such as pencils, paper, brushes, and blank papers. Cultural and educational materials will be incorporated in the kits, as well as interactive materials to allow students to learn by actively participating.
The CSArts Chapter’s initiative to create a fundraiser has not only impacted the lives of vulnerable children but has also brought the community together. The Paper Bridges team is thrilled to see a surge in initiatives among its chapters and will continue to encourage and support future projects.
"Adolescent's Wellbeing During COVID-19: Parental Resources." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last modified August 20, 2020. Accessed December 23, 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/parental-resource-kit/adolescence.html.