In life, we all know that it’s important to stop and smell the roses from time to time. For those of us enduring a Midwest winter, that can be harder said than done (we don’t even remember what green grass looks like by February!) – but we do remember the feeling we get from smelling fresh flowers, it’s the same one we get giving back to our communities.
Friends School of Minnesota knows all about great flowers and good feelings. Founded in 1988, the K-8 progressive education school is grounded in Quaker values. It strives to meet children’s intellectual, emotional, and spiritual needs, with the belief that children learn best as active participants, collaborators, and problem-solvers within a community. The school boasts a very diverse community of students, and supports many of their families with need-based financial aid.
Friends School of Minnesota’s main fundraiser helps offset this cost of financial aid. Each year on Mother’s Day weekend in May, people gather for the biggest fundraising plant sale in Minnesota – what began 27 years ago as a small affair held at the school is now a huge, sprawling event at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.
Each year, the Plant Sale offers over 2,500 varieties of plants for sale during the three-day event. The fairgrounds are packed with lines of annuals, perennials, climbing plants, native wildflowers, and vegetables, as well as selected water plants, roses, trees, and shrubs.
The sale is entirely volunteer-run, with more than 1,200 volunteers working 80 different jobs, and over 350 shifts. This is quite an undertaking for a small school like Friends School of Minnesota, with an enrollment of only 164 students. “We built our own volunteer management sign up system a few years ago,” says Garth Morrisette, Business Manager at Friends School of Minnesota. “While our system worked well and served our needs initially, it was expensive and time consuming to maintain.”
“We’ve been with VolunteerLocal since 2014 and we love it,” says Morrisette. “VolunteerLocal’s system is easy to use and manage, and also doesn’t break our budget.”
If you’re looking to smell some (virtual) roses, check an amazing timelapse video of the Plant Sale. You can also learn more about Friends School of Minnesota and ways you can get involved at their website.
Photos courtesy of Friends School of Minnesota