JUFL Rapha International chapter fundraising almost complete

KISSIMMEE – The March for Rapha Fundraiser, organized by the Johnson University Florida Rapha International chapter, reached $1,000, meaning a string of faculty fundraising goals will end later this month.

10 minutes before the fundraiser’s end April 1, the goal was reached, sealing the fate of Assistant professor in the school of Bible and Theology Rob Fleenor. Fleener will shave his head, beard, and eyebrows in the JUFL virtual commons April 24.

Rapha International is a non-profit organization with a mission to “end the trafficking and sexual exploitation of children – one child at a time – through aftercare for survivors, prevention for the vulnerable, and awareness for all.”

The JUFL fundraiser took place during the month of March and continued throughout the transition to online learning. Although several on-campus fundraising events had to be canceled, participants continued to advocate online for the fundraiser.

These four dressed up as characters from the television series “Golden Girls” as part of a fundraiser for Rapha House

Chapter President Marcella Albritton sent an email announcement to the JUFL community on the morning of April 1. Faculty and staff wrote replies such as “Congratulations,” “Well done, everyone”, and “Let’s gooooo!!!!”

Fleenor said that, in the virtual commons that will take place via Zoom on April 24, his children will be nearby to draw on his head with sharpies. 

Besides Fleenor’s decision to go bald for Rapha, faculty have jumped into pools while fully clothed, worn costumes, and shaved their beards.

Fleenor is the sponsor of the Rapha International chapel d-group. Along with Albritton, they advocated online for the fundraiser after online learning began. 

“I posted a couple of ‘boastful’ comments and a Photoshop of my face on a long-flowing-haired Fabio’s body as a way of daring people to contribute,” Fleenor said. “Marcella’s consistently keeping the fundraiser in front of the JUFL community and her last minute appeals, though, were what tipped the scales.”

Albritton said funds will probably go to “every nook and cranny” of Rapha International. 

This could include funds towards safe houses, a new safe house in Haiti, and hiring new staff.

Albritton organized the fundraiser with the students of the JUFL Rapha International chapter. Together they proposed and voted on ideas, from which Albritton then planned events.

In addition to the chapter, Albritton said that Fleenor and Chief People Officer of Rapha International, David Peters, were helpful in the fundraising. 

“[Fleenor] pushed me and always encouraged me,” Albritton said. “And also [Peters] has always been a helpful hand in this whole situation, like being my insider for Rapha and getting me all my free stuff like banners and tablecloths.”

This was Rapha International’s second semester being on the JUFL campus after disappearing from campus affiliations four years ago. Last semester, their chapter raised approximately $400 by selling candy grams.

Now, Albritton is continuing to advocate awareness and prayer online for Rapha International. But next semester, Albritton said she will have to pass on her “wand of leadership” since she will be graduating. 

Right now, the JUFL Rapha International fundraiser is still open.

To gain access to Fleenor’s shave event, email studentlifefl@johnsonu.edu

Find more about Rapha International here.

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