Feature Friday Fundraisers

Gala Gab: An Easy Close

Registration for Sister Schools’ Gala is now open!  Buy your tickets today!

Sydney’s story with Sister Schools has come full circle – from a supply drive in first grade all the way to coordinating a concert fundraiser in high school.  As the keynote speaker at our 2018 Gala, Syd shared how she applied the lessons of Sister Schools in the years between and invested in her own community.

Not only is the Sister Schools Gala a great opportunity to safely connect with friends, it is also our primary fundraiser for the year.  We haven’t been immune to the financial ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we need your help to get back on our feet again.


Good evening.  My name is Sydney Parker, and I am a freshman at North Creek High School.  I’m here to talk to you about my amazing journey with philanthropy that started with Sister Schools and changed my life.

I first discovered Sister Schools back in 1st grade, 2009, when they came to Fernwood Elementary School and told us about helping kids in Uganda get educations.  At the time, the magnitude of the situation there was completely foreign to me. I just knew that there were kids my age in a country far away that didn’t have so much as basic writing supplies, and this put them in great danger.  When I first saw the picture of the kids in Uganda actually holding the supplies I collected, it really hit home that I did that. Me. I was able to personally effect someone’s life in a very positive way with the simple act of collecting school supplies.   It was deep and personal. I could make a difference, and it felt really GOOD.

At the same time, I was frustrated.  I felt like I could do more.  A LOT more. I threw myself into all of the charity fundraising drives at school.  I worked with my dad to build social media awareness.  Being so young, I needed to protect my privacy, so I took on my dad’s stage name, “Platinum” – on-line I was (and still am) Sydney Platinum.   Still, every year, I was excited to collect school supplies for Sister Schools, and to see the kids in Uganda holding the stuff I collected. I could see the difference I was making. I was involved on a very personal level.

It was in 2012 that I would find my next inspiration.  A local charity that raises money for kids with cancer, Brandon’s Goal Foundation, came to Fernwood Elementary.  A little background on Brandon’s Goal:  Brandon Brauns was born March 14, 1999. He went to Northshore School District. We was diagnosed at the age of 4 with brain cancer and died on March 20, 2010.  Brandon spent nearly all of his time from his diagnosis to his death fundraising to help other kids with cancer.  He started, at age 4, by giving the gifts he received while in the hospital to other kids in the hospital who hadn’t received any.  The simple act of seeing and experiencing the receipt of his generosity was powerful, and solidified his path of philanthropy.  Sound familiar?

Brandon’s goal was conducting a “change drive” where they distributed small paper bags to the students so they could collect change at home and bring it in. It was quite brilliant.  I was deeply affected by the Brandon story, and wanted to do more than collecting change.  I wanted to find a way to make a bigger difference. There was no doubt in my mind that I could!

That brings us back to my dad.  He’s Tommy Platinum, singer in the local 80’s tribute band, Platinum Spandex.  I knew they had done a few charity shows, and I saw my chance to up my game.  I asked him if he would put together a charity show with Platinum Spandex to help kids with cancer.  He said no.

I was like, uhhh, WHAT??  THEN he said he’d connect me with his contacts at venues, media, booking agents, etc. and give me everything I would need to make it happen.  I also had to approach all of the band members and ask them personally to donate their time.  This was my chance to really grow and make my own mark.  Turns out dad knew what he was doing.  Who knew?

Anywho… I got the band on board and called and booked the Hard Rock Café for the show. Seriously, though… Who was really going to say no to the cute 8 year old read-head girl raising money for kids with cancer?  Dad says that’s what’s called “an easy close”.

That was all in November.  The show was to take place on February first. The show was getting a lot of attention, so I thought it would be great to maybe use that, so I did a toy drive for Toys for Tots at the Platinum Spandex Christmas show, and we collected a giant box full of over 100 toys.

I also reached out to various media contacts, and got an interview on the King 5 show, New Day Northwest.

My mom suggested a charity auction at the show, so Dad helped me go on line and ask for donations, which came pouring in. Everything from homemade fudge to an autographed Seahawks jersey. I learned about yet another avenue for fundraising.  Again, who says no?

We raised over $10,000 that night for kids with cancer. I felt absolutely amazing. Like I could take on any challenge.  I STILL feel that way, and it drives me to keep looking for ways to help people.

In the years since, I’ve worked through school at different fundraising campaigns, and started volunteering at the Bothell Senior Center. This year I decided to do something to give back to Sister Schools, the organization that set me on such an amazing and rewarding path through life.  I learned that Ugandan chalk is, shall we say, “sub par”, so I ran a chalk drive. We collected over 50 pounds of school chalk!

In February this year, I “convinced” Platinum Spandex to do charity show for Sister Schools. I also got the current #1 tribute band “Nite Wave” for the show. Due to what we’ll call a “miscommunication” with a venue, we had to book a much smaller venue.  I learned how to get creative when stuff goes sideways.  We had a completely packed house and a great auction and still raised $5,000 for Sister Schools.

I can’t wait for my next philanthropic endeavor. I don’t know what it is yet, but I KNOW it will be amazing and rewarding. I feel no limits.

Sister Schools has had a huge impact on my life. Before Sister Schools, charity was just a word. A thing where you go through the motions and something happens with some money that goes off somewhere and you never see it again.  Sister Schools showed me, in a very real way, what my work and donations meant to another real human being.  I got to see it.  It was real.  Sister Schools set me on a road of philanthropy and making a difference, because they showed me that I CAN and DO make a difference.  From school supplies to chalk to toys to benefit shows.  I can make an impact on people’s lives, and it is the most amazing feeling imaginable.

Your generous donations tonight will not only save countless children from lives of poverty and slavery, but will help thousands of other Sydney Platinum’s learn of their power to effect change, and set them on the road to experience the feeling of helping hundreds, thousands, millions of people all over the world.  You will help children to find more ways to help, from toy drives to chalk drives, to volunteering, to putting on rock shows to who knows? Your donations allow Sister Schools to teach children about giving, about what’s going on in the world around them, and what it feels like to help. That they CAN help, at ANY age.

The world needs this desperately, and it starts with you.


Registration for Sister Schools’ Gala is now open!  Buy your tickets today!

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