A Small Town Responds in an Unexpected Way.

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The ball floated, spinning slightly, the only thing moving in an otherwise motionless gymnasium. As the crowd held their breath, a gentle swoosh was made as the rubber ball fell through the nylon net.  Medina Public School Athletic Director, Damon Bosche, nailed his final free throw and the crowd exhaled with a roar of cheers.


Wait.  Can we back up a second?  We need to talk a little bit about fundraising here.  If you have ever fundraised for anything, you know it is no fun.  Even if it is for a good cause, it is no fun.  You have to pound the pavement. You have to pester friends.  You have to get in people’s faces.


The Close Up students in Medina, North Dakota knew this pain all too well.  17 students needed to raise $2,500 each if they were going to make the journey to the nations capital and experience democracy in action, “close up” and in-person (hence the name).


17 students times $2,500 is…a lot of money.


One way to make fundraising more fun is to have events, like bake sales and raffles.  So that’s what these kids did. Fun!  One way to make fundraising depressing is to have a random thief steal of all the funds raised by the raffle, around $700 in total.  Which is what happened to these students.  Sad. An already tough task became even more difficult and rather disheartening.


Medina is a small tightknit community, so word travels quickly.  When talk hit the doorstep of Choice Financial, the team stepped into action without thinking twice.  A plan was hatched; something that would help the students and hopefully put the fun back into fundraising. It was just the right thing to do.


As the community packed into the high school gymnasium one Friday night to watch the boy’s basketball games, no one knew what was about to happen.


Alright. Fast forward.


A gentle swoosh was made as the rubber of the ball fell through the nylon of the net.  Medina Public School Athletic Director Damon Bosche nailed his final free throw and the crowd exhaled with a roar of cheers. He and Brian Christopherson, Medina Public Schools Superintendent, had just drained eight of ten free throws, with Close Up students intently watching from the court.  Just moments earlier Tim Heilman, Choice Financial’s Chief Information Officer, standing alongside the Medina Choice team, revealed that each successful free throw triggered a $100 donation from Choice Financial.


Neither Brian or Damon had played basketball in a while. But even with the intense pressure of every eye in the stands on them and the entire community gasping and cheering at every attempt, they stayed cool and calm, making nearly all of their shots.


The Close Up students were relieved and grateful to be receiving a donation of $800 to cover their loss.  Oh, but there was one more thing. Tim had left out one detail.  The students’ eyes widened as he revealed that Choice Financial was going to throw in an additional $4,000, bringing the total raised to $4,800.


Tina Guthmiller, Medina Close Up Advisor, witnessed the students’ reactions. “The kids just couldn’t believe it.  They were shocked and surprised at how something so bad could turn into something so good.”