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So you’ve decided to go on a Real Break trip. That’s great! All the pictures and stories that you’ve seen and heard from previous trips are getting you super excited and you can’t wait for spring break to roll around. There’s only one thing standing in your way: your bank account (you are a college student indeed).

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Check out all the Real Break trips OCF has to offer!

But don’t worry! I’m here to tell you that there are SO many ways to raise money so that you can go on what may be one of the best experiences of your life (if you don’t believe me check out the testimonials on our blog).

Around this time last year, my roommate convinced me to sign up for the Real Break Jerusalem trip.  I figured it was a great opportunity that I had to take advantage of. How many people at our age can say that they’ve literally walked in the footsteps of Christ? Pretty cool right? I gave myself a couple of minutes to freak out about the price, and then I got down to business (to defeat the Huns! No, wait, not that).

I created a GoFundMe page and shared it on my Facebook every day. I asked my relatives and friends to share it on their pages, and I was pleasantly surprised when people I never expected made a donation on my behalf. Even a small donation goes a long way.  

Next, I sent personalized emails to family members, godparents, and parishioners from my church at home. Believe me, godparents are a definite go-to in this case. You may not always get an answer, but just have faith because there always is a way. People will rarely refuse to give you money if you tell them that you want to spend your spring break on a pilgrimage or building houses and working in an orphanage.

I’ve compiled a list of some alternate fundraising ideas that you could try out if the ones I listed above do not work.

  • Ask your priest if you can pass a basket at the end of church, and give a short blurb about Real Break and why you’re interested in going.
  • Send a letter to the archbishop of your jurisdictions and ask his blessing to send letters various parishes that you may have attended in the past.
  • Along with that, ask your jurisdiction if they offer any scholarships for any sort of traveling.
  • Set up a fundraiser where you sell things that you’ve made by hand (e.g. prayer ropes).
  • Reach out to local women groups in your jurisdiction, such as Philoptochos and Antiochian Women.
  • Check out our OCF fundraising page to see what other students have done in the past!
  • Also, look into our Fundraising Packet for sample email templates, support forms, and more.

At the end of the day, it’s up to you to ask because no one will come up to you and miraculously hand you the money that you need to pay for the trip.  The most important thing that I learned from the whole fundraising ordeal, was that it’s OK to ASK. I doubt that many of us are comfortable asking others for money, but what do we have to lose? Worst case scenario people just say no. Best case scenario, you raise the money early and you can stop stressing about the cost and focus on preparing yourself spiritually for an amazing journey.

I wish you all good luck and I hope that you all consider registering for a Real Break trip, now that I’ve (hopefully) assuaged some of your concerns about the cost. Feel free to contact me at realbreakstudent@ocf.net with any questions or concerns.

Let your light shine before others that they may see your good deeds and glorify your father in heaven. Matthew 5:16


IMG_4552Oana Grigoras is a senior at the University of Pittsburgh studying Biology and Religious Studies. She serves this year at the Real Break Student Leader on the 2016-2017 Student Leadership Board.

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