Alpha Omicron Pi’s philanthropy is the Arthritis Foundation, and chapters around the nation have hosted philanthropy events to raise money and awareness for juvenile arthritis (JA). On Nov. 9, Samford’s AOPi chapter decided to switch their usual bingo night for a pickleball tournament during their fall philanthropy week.
Director of Philanthropy Kaylee Pappa shared how they came to this decision to change the main event.
“As I came into this position, I had the vision to really change our philanthropy events so that we’re better fitting with the times that we’re in right now and what people are interested in, speaking more to the masses of our school,” Pappa said.
That night, fifty-seven teams came out to participate in the tournament. Pappa had initially said that her goal for the tournament was about fifty teams, so the attendance was higher than expected.
Alpha Omicron Pi member Camila Figueroa said, “We had a great turnout, we had a lot of people come and play… It was so much fun. Even if you weren’t playing, it was easy to follow. There was a lot to do, and we raised a lot of money. We raised over a thousand dollars for juvenile arthritis and the Arthritis Foundation, so we’re very proud of that.”
Members of Samford’s Alpha Omicron Pi sorority have shared the importance of spreading juvenile arthritis awareness during their philanthropy week and continuing after.
Figueroa said, “Juvenile arthritis is actually more common than a lot of people think. [At] Lakeshore Foundation, right next to Samford, there’s a lot of kids who struggle with juvenile arthritis, and we’ve seen them come to campus and describe their experiences with juvenile arthritis. It’s hard, it’s hard on kids when they’re aching, and their muscles are hurting. So, it just brings up something that a lot of people know about but is still so important because of how common it is in the U.S. and the world.”
Pappa shared her personal experience with juvenile arthritis and the Arthritis Foundation and why she wanted to become AOPi’s Director of Philanthropy.
“My aunt, who recently passed away, she had JA throughout her entire life, so I just had such a big motivation for being able to raise funds for such a big organization that helped her out so much and improved her quality of life,” Pappa said.
Each team in the tournament paid to participate, and the audience members paid to attend. All proceeds from the event went toward treatment and research for juvenile arthritis. Although this was their first official pickleball tournament at Samford University, Alpha Omicron Pi sisters were impressed with the turnout and the excitement surrounding the new fundraising event.
Arts & Life Editor