Mats Support BuildOn

Caroline Colwell, News Editor

This year, Performers for Progress succeeded in raising around $10,000 for a truly incredible organization, BuildOn, headed by two of our own Miramonte students. 

Juniors Vanessa Tang and Mariel Salem started the local chapter of BuildOn two years ago. BuildOn is an international organization, dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty, illiteracy, and low expectations through service and education. It is one of the top rated non-profit organizations, and only three percent of profits goes to administrative costs.

Tang heard about BuildOn from a chapter at Albany High School and decided to start her own at Miramonte, asking Salem to be Vice President. Tang attended a conference with all the chapter leaders in Sausalito. “I was really inspired by all the passion there,” Tang said.

Tang and Salem’s chapter works alongside the organization, fundraising to build schools in impoverished countries, helping fund students to travel to and serve in these countries, and working to fight illiteracy by financially supporting after-school programs here in the United States. Their chapter at Miramonte has grown to include roughly 20 active members.

“BuildOn is a fantastic opportunity to get involved in an easy way and it’s really rewarding,” Salem said. “It’s a really great movement.”

Since they founded their chapter of BuildOn, Tang and Salem have completed many projects. This past August, the Miramonte BuildOn chapter sent four students to Malawi, Africa to build a school for which they had raised $24,000 to build. The students who traveled to Malawi included Tang, junior Madison Gibson, and sophomores Mitchell Tang and Alex Sukys.

“This experience was truly amazing and I hope to share it with more people this year,” Tang said.

Although they employ many fundraising methods, Tang and Salem’s chapter’s predominate tactic follows BuildOn’s method of sending mass emails and letters to family and friends.

“The chapter at Miramonte is actually one of the smallest, but we hope to get more people involved this year,” Tang said.

This fall, junior Sam Shain, co-producer of Performers for Progress, approached Salem about the possibility of this fall’s performance supporting her organization. Shain learned of BuildOn’s efforts through a friend in Tang and Salem’s chapter. The money was donated to BuildOn, and Tang and Salem plan to put the money towards their project this year: building a school either in Haiti or Nicaragua. It will cost around $30,000 to achieve this goal.

“I love BuildOn because everyone involved is so passionate and so kind,” Tang said. “I’m so glad to be a part of this movement.”