Sept. 22 event
'Classic' is a popular volunteer opportunity
About 70 high school students are among more than 300 volunteers who make the New Albany Classic Invitational Grand Prix and Family Day run smoothly, organizers say.
This year's Classic is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, at the home of Leslie and Abigail Wexner in New Albany.
"Each year, the New Albany Classic Invitational Grand Prix and Family Day is possible due to the 300-plus volunteers who lend their time and talents to support the Center for Family Safety and Healing, (the fundraiser's beneficiary)," said event spokeswoman Lisa Hinson. "Since its inception, there have been more than 3,700 volunteers donating more than 22,250 hours of service."
New Albany High School senior Kaitlyn Gliha took on the job this year of recruiting high school students as volunteers.
She said she used the job for her senior seminar project, a New Albany High School graduation requirement that involves 80 hours of research and creation of a final product or project.
Gliha, who also volunteered at the Classic last year, said she created volunteer-information packets last summer and sent them to nine school districts in Franklin County. She said she has solicited the most volunteers from New Albany, Gahanna Lincoln and DeSales high schools.
Senior Ryan Wilson helped her at New Albany High School, she said, by recruiting members of the football team to run environmental control and cleanup on site during the event and to help tear down the day after.
New Albany High School students are required to earn 25 service hours to graduate. Gliha said other schools have different requirements but most require students to complete some service hours.
"You can get a lot of hours in a fun and positive way that really supports our community," Gliha said.
The high school students had the option to work two hours daily Sept. 18 to 20, four hours Sept. 21 and seven hours Sept. 22, the day of the event.
Gliha said students earning service hours also are helping students in Zambia in southern Africa through an organization called Kids Here and There, established this year with a grant of $21,000 from the New Albany Community Foundation.
The organization, started by Hannah Wexner, tracks students' service hours and allows sponsors to match them with funding to pay for volunteer work in Zambia.
"Every hour spent by a volunteer by students at the Classic is counted for an hour of volunteer work paid for by a sponsor for a kid in Zambia," Gliha said.
Each volunteer is given a specific task the day of the Classic, which features live entertainment, games and other activities for families, as well as a horse-jumping invitational featuring world-class riders.
Gliha said working as a volunteer captain was a good experience with a few challenges.
"The timeframe in which students get back to you is not as quickly as you would hope," she said.
Gliha said she spent the second week of September responding to a rush of volunteer requests, compiling data that had to be sent to Classic organizers for approval.
She said she learned how to stay organized and how to respond to a large number of emails and questions, all of which had to be done in a timely manner.
"I really got a taste of what the real world is like and I had to motivate myself to get this done," she said.
Gliha said she plans to attend Miami University and study engineering with a minor in international business.
"Because of all the public relations that I've learned communicating with people, it definitely helped me see the business side of the corporate world," she said.
The New Albany Classic Invitational Grand Prix and Family Day benefits the Center for Family Safety and Healing, an organization that works to reduce child abuse and assist victims of domestic violence.