The Harbinger Online



DSC_8685Astrid Cifuentes

Sophomore Astrid Cifuentes has always dreamed of becoming a lawyer. When she opened a letter from Stanford University inviting her to attend a summer law program, she knew she had to take the opportunity.

The Envision Intensive Law Program and Trial, which is in collaboration with Stanford Law School, allows kids to stay on campus for week-long summer camps. It is designed to give high school students the chance to learn about the legal profession. Students analyze case studies, participate in faculty discussions and listen to guest speakers.

The only problem for Cifuentes was the $5,000 price tag. Taking the program’s recommendation, Cifuentes decided to start a GoFundMe to raise money so she could attend.

Her campaign officially began on Feb.11. Cifuentes entered a description of her cause, her name and photo to set up her campaign. Once she shared her link on Facebook, Cifuentes began to receive donations of $30 to $130 from relatives and her father’s co-workers. The encouraging messages people wrote along with the donation assured Cifuentes that her cause was worthwhile.

“Everything makes a difference and I am thankful for everyone who donated,” Cifuentes said.

Ten days into the campaign, she had raised $500. In addition to using her GoFundMe, she has talked to law firms that are interested in funding. Cifuentes aims to reach her goal by March 25. With the help of GoFundMe she hopefully can attend and begin learning more about dream career.


Amara Ivancic

Sophomore Amara Ivancic heard sirens in the distance as a nurse helped her climb through the window of her 2000 Honda Civic. People swarmed around her, asking her if she was OK and telling her she had to move her car. She took a deep breath, trying to understand what had just happened.

Ivancic remembered the reckless black Mustang speeding ahead to cut her off. She remembered jerking the steering wheel to avoid a crash. Airbags deployed and her car was stopped. She faced the damage: her Civic  wedged between the south wall of Pickleman’s and a light post.

Ivancic’s car was her way of getting to school, going to friends’ houses and driving to her new job. She had accepted a job at Tropical Sno earlier that day, thinking she could drive herself to work – now that had changed.

Ivancic sat with her father, discussing the price if she wanted to repair the car or look for a different one. She knew that either way she would have to be the one to pay for it.

“My dad suggested [GoFundMe] jokingly, but I actually thought it was a good idea,” Ivancic said.  

Ivancic decided on a goal of $750 that would go towards an inexpensive used car. She began spreading the word through Facebook, Twitter and emails to relatives.  

To her surprise, she immediately gained support. Ivancic received donations up to $150 from family friends. After a few days she had surpassed her goal with 11 donors and $840.  

Now that she had the money, Ivancic has begun looking for cars. Ivancic is responsible for finding a car she can afford and meeting with the seller. She has met with one seller, but is continuing to search for a car on Craigslist.


David Muhammad

For over two years, social studies teacher David Muhammad has been a part of the U.S. Sekarate picnior National Karate Team. As a member, he participates in events around the world that give him experience in a more competitive environment. Since he does not receive funding, Muhammad is responsible for the expenses of the competitions he attends. The cost of out-of-town competitions can add up to be over $1,000 with airline tickets, rental cars, food and hotel prices. Muhammad decided GoFundMe would be a good way to try to gain support after hearing of its popularity.

Muhammad’s first GoFundMe was created in 2014. He posted about his fund on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Quickly after, he received support from friends and faculty at East.

The $3,720 Muhammad raised in 2014 went towards two competitions in Lima, Peru and Vancouver, Canada.

After his previous success, Muhammad decided to make another GoFundMe in hopes of raising money for future events.

“I have found GoFundMe is pretty accessible since it has all social networks,” Muhammad said.

His current campaign will go towards his trip to compete at the U.S. Open in Las Vegas. He has raised $1,290 in less than a month. Since Muhammad does not want his supporters to feel obligated to donate continually, he has not advertised this fund as much.

As a thanks to everyone who donated, Muhammad offered a Practical Self-Defense Seminar to donors on Feb. 28.

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