One could hardly imagine when the Riverside-Brookfield High School Educational Foundation held it first telethon in 1989 that it would become such a success and have grown to such proportions.
The first gift to the school from the foundation was called a writer’s workbench, which while something at the time, became obsolete in a short period of time due to changes in technology.
Having just held Telethon 2013 on Feb. 23, the RBEF has expanded its mission of providing educational opportunities to students, staff and teachers at the high school. This year’s telethon raised more than $23,000, but not without the help of more than 100 volunteers and months of work.
If you watched any of the program, which was broadcast live, you were entertained mainly by student groups. The local talent all was assembled by Ellen Fong, who has been the “director” of the entertainment portion for the past few years.
Technically, the audio-visual director is Gary Prokes who is in the control booth from the time the program starts until when it ends. He assembles those who will be behind the scenes and behind the cameras for the day. Some of them are current students, but former students have shown their loyalty and return each year to assist with the show. Grant recipients are also asked to return to be interviewed to tell about the experiences was possible to them by the foundation.
Trustees of the RBEF spent months in planning the event, securing corporate sponsorship and gathering donated items that are used as premiums — from 10 pound bars of Aunt Diana’s chocolate to gift certificates from local and other Chicago-area restaurants. You may have noticed the donated advertisements of the event in the Landmark, on the TownConnection website and on an electronic billboard on First Avenue courtesy of RBHS graduate and Brookfield resident Ed Marcin of Clear Channel Outdoor.
This year, the foundation will be setting up a donor board, which will be hung in a place of prominence at the school, as a way of recognizing the generosity of so many people.
The RBEF telethon is unique method of fundraising by a high school group and has continued to be a success due to the work of so many to support educational opportunities.