GLIFY Donates $2,600 to Wildfire-Impacted Paradise High School

By Roy Lin

One foggy morning in early December, a group of Tri-Valley high school students drove three hours to Chico to visit the wildfire-impacted Paradise High School (PHS). They presented a check of $2,600 to Assistant Principal Marnie Smith of PHS.

These high schoolers were members of Global Leadership Initiatives for Youth (GLIFY), a nonprofit organization made up of more than 200 high school and middle school students from the East Bay. They raised money to help their peers in PHS by baking cookies from scratch and selling them, as well as donating their savings.

“GLIFY’s mission is to help children in need locally and around the world, so when we heard that over 90 percent of the students and staff at Paradise High School lost their homes in the Camp Fire, we decided we had to do something,” said Gavin Yin, a GLIFY member who made the trip to Chico.

During Thanksgiving break, 36 GLIFY members got together to bake cookies. They worked three shifts and made 1,900 chocolate chip cookie and snickerdoodle cookies. This is an annual fundraising event, and this year, the proceeds went to help PHS students.

Some GLIFY members also put in money they saved from their part-time jobs or their allowances. Peter Li from Dougherty Valley High School first contributed $200 from his earnings as a part-time gym receptionist. Then a number of fellow members followed suit.

PHS Assistant Principal Smith met the student representatives at the Paradise High School Learning Center in the Chico Mall. “PHS has been closed since Nov. 8 when the fire swept through Paradise,” said Smith, adding that the students are currently learning in an independent study model with drop-in labs at the Chico Mall, where they will stay for three weeks. A temporary site near the Chico Municipal Airport will be open for students on Jan. 7, 2019. She also emphasized that education was the priority for Paradise. “Despite all the challenges we are facing right now, we will do everything we can to get our students back in school.”

Like the majority of the PHS families, Smith lost her home in Camp Fire. She took out her phone and showed the GLIFY members photos of empty Walmart shelves. She told the Tri-Valley students how difficult it was to buy daily necessities, because 50,000 people lost everything at the same time. In order to buy a set of dishes, they had to go to Reno, which was over 160 miles away from Chico.

“What we contribute to your school is a drop in the bucket compared to what you have lost, but we hope this shows your students that they are in our thoughts,” said Kevin Li, GLIFY member. In response, Smith gave a hug to each of the students. “Thank you may be a small word, but it helps convey all of our gratitude to you from us,” said Smith.

This article was first published on The Independent on Dec. 20, 2018.