In this article, we will lay out a general framework for creating your very own high school club that deals with food banks. This is an extension to one of the ideas for teen engagement with regard to food banks that we mentioned earlier in our last article titled “How to Help Food Banks as a Teen”.
Before we dive into tips for creating your own club, keep in mind that high schools all across the country and the world have different procedures for creating clubs. Some schools require extensive criteria towards getting a new club accepted, while other schools are relatively lax when it comes to creating new clubs. This framework is designed to embody a school that has some sort of approval process where administrators have to sign off on the new club and a teacher advisor has to be found for after school meetings.
Step 1: Drafting a Plan
All good things start with a plan! When you are thinking about starting a new school club that deals with food banks, it is important to write down your goals. In this planning phase, you should decide on the name of your club, what the club will do, how new members will be brought into the club, the structure of the club’s governance such as who will be president and how can people get a position in the club, and also when and where the club meetings will take place. Also, make sure that you have a great founding team with your friends!
It is also really important to understand how club approvals work in your school. Talk to teachers, guidance counsellors, or even your principals and vice principals. They will have all the relevant information and most likely will be excited that you are interested in creating a club of your own. You can also include
Networking with teachers that you really like is also crucial for the planning stage. In some schools, a teacher advisor is needed for the club to be approved, so it is critical that you make meaningful connections with teachers that may end up being your advisor for the club once it becomes approved.
Food bank related clubs can take on lots of different forms. Some ideas include being a hub for fundraising efforts that go towards food banks (such as bake sales and talent shows) and/or having regular food drives.
The goal of your food bank club should be to act as a hub for students. Clubs are a great way to bring together students to achieve a goal in the community and organize students in an easier manner as compared to creating ad hoc food drives.
Step 2: Seeking Regulatory Approval
Approval varies widely depending on the school that you are trying to get your club started. In some schools (like my own), you have to pick up a form from the main office, fill out answers to questions like the purpose of your club, when you will meet, who will be your teacher advisor, and if you will engage in any business activity (fundraisers). Then, the form is handed back to one of the vice principals in the high school and you hear back if you were approved or not. If you were not approved, you would still have another round to edit your application and try again multiple times.
Some tips for the approval stage include leveraging your connections with faculty. They will be your strongest allies and they will be deciding if you get approved or not.
Another area of focus is to convey your mission statement clearly and effectively as you are filling out the application or talking with a faculty member regarding getting approved. It is as if you are creating a business and pitching to investors for cash: make sure that they know you are really interested in creating a food bank related club and how you will use the club as a vehicle for impact in the community.
Step 3: Growth
If you passed through the approval stage, congrats! You now have a great food bank related club!
The final step is all about execution and growing your club so that it has an impact on the community.
Think about how you will grow into the club that you planned out. Often, the hardest part of this stage is driving awareness so that you bring in new members. This can be alleviated by using social media and following people in your school to drive awareness and increase the amount of new members that you have.
A huge part of the growth stage is also making a new plan for the future. What food bank related events will you do? Will you create a food drive, launch a bake sale and donate the proceeds to food banks, or run digital media for a local food bank? All of those ideas are great, and there are some detailed tips on how to execute on those ideas in our previous article titled “How to Help Food Banks as a Teen”.