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Businesses help Milton High School fundraiser for MS

Marci Mitchell-Hallett works on a quiz in her Honors English 10 class at Milton High School in 2014. She is helping to organize a Dec. 12-13 lock-in at the high school to raise money for multiple sclerosis research.

Only a handful of the 30 businesses the Milton student council has approached for a multiple sclerosis fundraiser have donated so far.

The students aren't worried.

“When you see teens doing a great thing, it's hard not to be optimistic about it,” council President Anna Harvatine said. “It's a waiting game right now.”

“It's still in the early stages of getting the money,” said Dan Thies, student council adviser.

The council needs the money to put on the second annual “Stay the Night to End the Fight” lock-in at the high school. Proceeds are given to the Wisconsin chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

The event's founder, Marci Mitchell-Hallett, personally knows the effects of MS because her father has the disease.

“This fundraiser helps MS research and helps resources for people living with MS,” Mitchell-Hallett said. “We do want to end MS someday, but we do want to help people living with the disease.”

Last year, Mitchell-Hallett was the sole organizer, soliciting businesses on her own. This time around, she has help.

Groups of student council members were assigned to go to area businesses and ask them to donate. Each business was given a packet of information, including a flier about the event and information about the society.

The Bank of Milton is one of the businesses that donated.

Bob Cullen, bank vice president and school board member, was approached by Mitchell-Hallett and Harvatine. Deciding to contribute wasn't difficult, he said.

“It's a good effort by a good group of students for a good cause,” he said. “I'm just so impressed with those student council kids.”

The bank can't donate to every community event, but “we do the best we can,” Cullen said. “We felt this was a very worthwhile effort and cause.”

Other businesses reacted positively to students' donation requests, Harvatine said.

“A lot of people were receptive, too. They said, 'Oh, this is a great event,'” she said. “We know that community businesses are all behind us and on board.”

Mitchell-Hallett gave a presentation to the Milton Area Chamber of Commerce, as she did last year. She expects businesses from the commerce to contribute again.

Residents are donating, too, Thies said.

“It was really cool to see. A lot of them just felt impacted or maybe had their own relative or friend who had MS,” he said.

Last year, businesses donated pizzas and raffle prizes for the lock-in. Student council members are open to those types of donations this year, too. After expenses are covered, the remaining money goes to the society, Harvatine said.

The lock-in raised $3,000 its first year, and the goal this year is $5,000. Students are learning about themselves as they solicit donations.

“I know it's difficult to kind of break out of our shells, but when you have the goal of getting money and see what the money can do for MS, it motivates people to break out of their comfort zones,” Harvatine said.

Students also are breaking down barriers, Mitchell-Hallett said.

“I think it's maybe refreshing to see there's still good things happening at the high school with kids our age,” she said.
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