By: David Berliner

Before we had even said goodbye to our students at Baphumelele Children’s Home in Cape Town, my friend Whitney Mufson and I had been contemplating putting together a fundraiser for CHOSA at our school in Philadelphia, PA.

Although we each taught 8-10 year olds, our experiences were quite different. Whitney chose to use her previous experience as a teacher, and her passion for acting, to direct her students in an interactive play, which they performed for all the volunteers and students at the end of the program. My boys, slightly more mischievous than Whitney’s girls, took more to learning about planets, drawing comic books, and breaking down math problems.

When Whitney and I returned to the States last November, we began to discuss planning a CHOSA fundraising event. With the support of Whitney’s grandfather, who was involved with a New Jersey based brewing company called Hometown Beverages, we decided to throw a Beer Tasting Fundraiser.

We raised money through social organizations, friends, and family to provide beer and food for the event and supplemented beer donated by Hometown with samples from local Philadelphia breweries. Koch’s, a landmark Philadelphia deli, gave us reduced prices on food, and we hosted the event on the deck of my house on campus.

Each person who came donated $20 to CHOSA in return for 4 raffle tickets, which would provide 4 beers and all the food and snacks they wanted. We asked friends to bartend, and marketed the event through Facebook. We raised more money than we had originally thought possible on such short notice, and getting people together to support the organization that means so much to Whitney and I was an incredible experience.

Whitney and I were ecstatic with how the event unfolded, but we know we can do more to help. This will not be our last fundraiser for CHOSA, and we will continue our efforts to help CHOSA support children in need in South Africa. We both feel lucky to be able to give back to such a special organization, and we’d like to thank Rob Rosenbaum, our program leader, and CHOSA for the opportunity to have met, worked with, and learned from our kids at Baphumelele.