On a couple of Sundays in recent weeks, a group of compassionate Ojai Valley School students have traveled around Ojai, providing face-painting services to raise money for a great cause.
The students joined a long-standing OVS tradition of supporting Relay for Life, a worldwide movement to help fight cancer and provide care for those grappling with the disease.
This year, senior Savannah Moler came up with the idea to face paint as a way to add to the money raised by those taking part in the Ojai relay, which will take place this weekend at Nordhoff High School.
“I want to help as much as possible to raise money for this event because it’s such a significant issue,” said Savannah, who joined with other students to raise more than $100 for the cause.
Last year, Ojai only had a 12-hour relay, much to the disappointment of many members of the community.
This year, however, event organizers have joined together and raised the walking time back to 24 hours.
So far, the Ojai Relay has since raised more than $14,000. Walt’s Walking Warriors, a fellow fundraising group, has raised $2,600 so far, which is the most out of any group in the Ojai Valley. OVS is the second-biggest fundraiser, generating more than $2,300 so far.
AP Psychology teacher John Valenzuela has raised more than $1,000, putting him in second place for the most donations for an individual in the entire Ojai Valley.
This year is also the first year that Mr. Valenzuela has been the main faculty member leading the OVS students in their fundraising initiative for Relay for Life.
“[The students] continue to amaze me in the amount of dedication they have to raising awareness for Relay for Life,” Mr. Valenzuela said.
Similar to past events, teachers and students plan to walk the track at Nordhoff High for the entire 24-hour period. The OVS team so far includes nearly 40 participants, and those numbers continue to grow.
Many of the teachers and students have been exposed to the traumatic affect cancer has on people.
Freshman Wendy Lazo-Dowdy joined the face-painting team because Relay for Life means a lot to her and her family.
“Every single person in America has been affected by cancer somehow,” she said.
Regulars among the face-painting crew all have fond memories of their fundraising efforts, which have taken place at the Ojai Farmer’s Market and Tomatomania, held at Ojai Valley School’s Lower Campus.
Junior Evelyn Brokering, who this year serves as team captain, attended all of the face-painting initiatives, taking pictures and directing the face-painters.
“It’s great we can make people happy and raise money at the same time,” Evelyn said.