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What is Shop with a Bulldawg?
Shop with a Bulldawg (SWAB) is a student-run 501 c3 non-profit at the University of Georgia. Each year we partner with elementary schools throughout Athens-Clarke County to organize an annual event day. On event day, UGA students and participating children spend a day together shopping, wrapping gifts and enjoying fun activities. With money raised by UGA students and the Athens community, each child can spend $120 on items that they need and want. Our hope is for event day to be a positive, annual event where people from across the community can come together to celebrate and learn from one another.
HISTORY OF SWAB
SWAB was founded by UGA students, Codie Haddon, Kaitlyn O'Keefe and Caitlyn Searles in 2009 as freshmen at the University of Georgia. In our first year, we were able to raise $10,000 and invite 46 children to shop for the holidays. In our third year, we raised over $40,000 and took 210 children shopping. In 2018, we invited over 650 children to our event and raised over $120,000. SWAB has grown substantially over the past 10 years, and we hope to continue to grow in years to come.
OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE ATHENS COMMUNITY
Every year we strive to have a lasting relationship with the Athens-Clarke County elementary school system. We stay in constant communication with the schools' family engagement specialists to organize the logistics of event day. Each family engagement specialist can invite a certain number of children depending on the number of participating mentors and the amount of money raised. Depending on the school, family engagement specialists invite children based on financial need or academic achievement. At the event, family engagement specialists help check-in and monitor children. Our event would not be possible without the collaboration of the community and the elementary school system.
Aside from our relationship with the Athens school system, we yearn to maintain relationships with local businesses, and we aim to strengthen our community engagement every year. We have implemented a sponsorship program to improve our presence within the community. An essential part of our mission is to celebrate the value of community, so we want to involve as many local business as possible.
SWAB X UGA
The UGA community is integral to our organization. On event day, each elementary student is paired with two UGA mentors. The UGA students spend a day having fun and getting to know an elementary student. Each participating UGA student raises $60 before event day, creating a total of $120 per child. The number of mentors directly affects the number of children we are able to invite, so we strive to increase the number of mentors every year. Our hope for event day is for UGA and elementary students to have fun together and brighten each other's day.
Our mission is to celebrate the value of community, the excitement of the holidays, and the children of Athens.
Our vision is for Shop with a Bulldawg to grow every year. We would love to invite as many children as possible to participate in our event day. In the future, we want our organization to provide more events to collaborate with the community. Our organization is taking small steps each year to ensure the organization's growth overtime.
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