For the 10th year, La Cañada High School students threw a bash that was sure to get folks in town talking: 250 people showed up, many of them throwing pies in the faces of LCHS students, some of them dumping buckets of water on the teens. One student lost his parking spot at school next to Principal Ian McFeat for the rest of the school year.
All that and more in the name of charity.
Members of the Teens for the Advancement of Children’s Hospital raised about $4,000 at Saturday’s TACH Bash, the annual carnival-esque fundraiser organized by the club. All the proceeds were to be donated to the Adolescent Medicine Division at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
“We just get so much generosity from the community and we’re so grateful for that,” said TACH President David Yoon, a senior who donated his prime parking spot on campus for inclusion in the silent auction Saturday.
“But giving up a parking spot is really the least I could do,” Yoon added, by email, Monday.
Saturday’s party in Memorial Park took about four months to organize, Yoon said, with students coordinating everything from marketing to making sure they had enough whipped cream.
There was entertainment: Local singers Katie Cunningham, Meghan Gay and Sean Segal serenaded the crowd from the gazebo.
There was food: Los Lobos food truck was on the scene, having waived its usual $600 appearance fee. So was the Kona Ice truck, operated by former LCHS teacher and coach Tamar Hill, who last summer donated $800 to the club from her earnings at Music in the Park events.
There was so much good stuff: In addition to Yoon’s parking space, the silent auction featured clothing, shoes, Dodgers tickets, a Warner Bros. gift basket including four VIP Tour tickets to the studio, an iPad mini, a turntable and a Magic Bullet.
And there was fun: For $1 or $2, festival-goers could bounce down an inflatable slide, play bean bag cornhole, have their faces painted, shoot baskets for candy, and, of course, dump buckets of water on and, yes, stuff pies into the faces of any TACH member onsite.
“I couldn’t resist!” said LCHS junior Tyler Breneman, one of seven attendees who turned up to pie his friend Yoon on Saturday.
“It really actually smells terrible,” club member Tait Ryssdal said of the pies. “Especially when you’re sitting in the sun. It’s sticky, too, especially around the ears and the nose.”
“But it’s all worth it … we want to help the kids,” said Megan Reilly, one of the club’s Presidents of Benefit, charged with rounding up auction items along with fellow senior Rashi Shah.
The club has 35 “active” members who meet during STEP study period at school, and 14 “associate” members — underclassmen who don’t fit into the classroom but who helped Saturday and throughout the year, when the club holds numerous fundraisers.
There’s a smoothie drive and, right before finals, an especially popular Krispy Kreme drive, as well as toiletry, school supply and toy drives.
Through those sorts of efforts, TACH in its first decade has raised more than $100,000 for CHLA, parent director Lisa Simone estimated.
“Even though [CHLA] is grand and beautiful, the bottom line is they don’t turn anybody away,” she said. “So I just feel compelled to do what I can because they were so great to us.”
Her son had surgeries at the hospital, she said. Some club members have had siblings receive treatments there, or have been patients themselves. Others haven’t had personal experiences with the hospital but are grateful for their own health and feel the urge to support those who aren’t so fortunate.
“At first I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to join a club, why not?’” Yoon said. “And as I started getting into it, I realized all that we were able to do through this club and the opportunity we have to help some children who really need it at the hospital. And that’s when I decided to really ramp it up and do as much as I can.
“Personally, I’m so blessed in my health and in my financial situation and other factors in my life. And I know there are a lot of kids out there who aren’t so fortunate, so I like to do my part to help as much as I can.”
For more information, contact Simone at firstname.lastname@example.org.