Spring is in the air and if you have any connection to a school, you know what that means: it’s auction time! Many schools, both public and private, use silent and live auctions to raise a lot of money to support programs that would otherwise possibly be eliminated. I know at my son’s school (Castle Heights Elementary) the money raised goes directly to fund everything from teacher’s aides to the librarian. The computer lab and the physical education program, the art teachers and science teachers and practically everything in between is all made possible thanks to fundraising. If you are of grandparent age, the current state of public schools is not the same as when your children attended. This doesn’t mean the schools are subpar- far from it! However, the money doesn’t flow like it once did and it’s really up to the efforts of parents to keep the extra curricular programs funded.

So, we all try to do our part to make sure these auctions are chock full of terrific items on which to bid so that attendees are inclined to shop and spend heartily. Concert tickets, show tapings, beauty baskets, books, kitchen equipment, signed memorabilia- it’s all for sale at practically every local school across the city. The sky is literally the limit. As far as I know, anyone who wants to spend a bit of money to attend these auctions can do so. There’s always food, drink and, of course, the opportunity to bid on some pretty amazing products. Good karma points, too, since the items have all been donated so your money is going straight to the school.

I think this may be my 6th year in a row that I sponsor the Castle Heights raffle. Each student sells a bunch of raffle tickets and there are two winners chosen out of the 12,000+ tickets sold. I donate the two cash prizes (1,000 dollars goes to the first place winner and 500 to the second) and I also have the esteemed honor of getting to draw the winners’ names at the auction in March. It’s a lot of fun to do and I feel good knowing I’m helping my son’s fantastic school. I also make a donation to Overland Elementary because a friend asked me to do it and how could I say no?

So, if you are a business or restaurant owner and you get approached by a hardworking mom or dad looking for you to make a donation to their school, I encourage you to give a product or two to be auctioned off. Not only is it great exposure for your business, but it could help get you a new customer who might not have otherwise patronized your business. And, beyond that, you get to feel good knowing you’ve done something nice for your local school.

And, if you’re a neighbor and you hear a knock at your door- it may be a student selling a raffle ticket sponsored by Ben Lee. At only a dollar each, what do you have to lose? Might as well buy a few because you never know- I may be calling your name as the grand prize winner this upcoming March during the auction. Good luck!