Students work behind the scenes at the Riverside-Brookfield Telethon in 2015. | FILE

While educational opportunities are available in many places, being able to afford those opportunities can sometimes be difficult, so we look for ways to alleviate some of the financial burdens. 

It was with that in mind that a group of people in 1987 formed an all-volunteer organization known as the Riverside Brookfield Educational Foundation. Independent of the high school, the not-for-profit organization is directed by a board of trustees to provide educational enrichment opportunities in the form of grants for students, faculty and staff.

As is most often the case, fundraising is the most important component — bake sales can only bring in so much. For the foundation, that meant embarking on an annual telethon, starting in 1989 in cooperation with the then-Library Media Services. The Telethon was a success monetarily and was awarded the John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Award. RBHS was the only high school in the country to receive this prestigious honor.

The telethon continues to be successful, but not without the help of hundreds of volunteers who work behind the scenes and in front of the cameras. Viewers will see live entertainment on stage and watch the activities in the studio with guest hosts and a phone bank with volunteers taking pledges. 

Credit Gary Prokes and Mary Todhunter for their tireless work getting all the technical work together. Mary Stamm has again assembled an all-star show featuring much of the talent from the area.

After the dust settles, those interested in applying for grants are urged to do so. Following the deadline and reviewing that all criteria have been met, applications are reviewed by the trustees. The awarding of the grants takes place at a ceremony in the spring.

This year the telethon is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 20 from 1 to 9 p.m. It can be viewed online at or on television on Comcast Channel 16 or AT&T U-Verse Channel 99. To make a pledge call 708-442-9990.

Monetary gifts will be accepted at any time. Items are also being sought to be used as premiums. There will be premiums available with a pledge, including gift cards to many local restaurants and entertainment venues.

More information may be found out by contacting Riverside-Brookfield High School at 708-442-7500.