Fundraising Philanthropist

At the 2011 Rockin’ For Relief,  Jennifer helps fundraise from Dierbergs shoppers. (Photo by Mia Kweskin) 

BY DANIELLE SEROTA, PARKWAY CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL

Jennifer Rubin may not be your typical rock star, be she sure is rocking…Rockin’ 4 Relief that is.

Jennifer, a junior at Parkway Central High School and member of United Hebrew Congregation, founded Rockin’ 4 Relief at age 12 to raise money for Backstoppers, an organization that helps support the families of officers killed in the line of duty. Every year, Jennifer and more than 100 other teenagers sit in rocking chairs and rock outside of different Dierbergs locations for 10 hours straight to raise money for the cause. 

“These police officers, firefighters, EMTs and paramedics risk their lives every time they attend their job,” Jennifer said. “Anything can happen to them and they are willing to risk their lives to save a stranger. The least we can do is financially put their families back on their feet at such a hard time.”

Jennifer first became aware of the inspiring cause at the age of 10 after attending DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) and other community events with the Chesterfield Police Department and Officer Josh King. 

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Jennifer  knew she wanted to help from the moment she learned about Backstoppers. Prior to last year, she had already raised $12,000. Instead of stopping there, Jennifer utilized Twitter to send a message to Oprah Winfrey, asking her to retweet the Rockin’ 4 Relief website address.

“She didn’t retweet, but instead replied saying she would match the $12,000 that we’ve already raised and add $1,000 to get us to a cumulative total of over $25,000,” Jennifer said.  “And sure enough, in June we got a check and note in the mail.”

Jennifer has now raised $44,718.27 for Backstoppers. 

With such a large task, obstacles are inevitable. Quite a few have arisen in the process of planning this huge annual fundraiser. The first year, Rockin’ 4 Relief took place at a single location, the JCCA in Chesterfield. According to Jennifer, the biggest challenge at the time was raising money. Now that Rockin’ 4 Relief has expanded to 15 locations, and will continue to expand to other states, the money isn’t the problem; the new obstacle is finding enough volunteers to staff such a large fundraiser.

“Our biggest obstacle is finding enough volunteers,” Jennifer said. “People should volunteer for Rockin’ 4 Relief because it’s a great way to get involved in the community and help those who help us everyday. We need volunteers of all ages but we are also trying to keep this a fundraiser that is ultimately run by teenagers because we feel like so many teenagers want to get involved but might not know how. This is a great way to make a huge difference.”

Jennifer strives to make a huge impact with Rockin’ 4 Relief, and the fundraiser has made a large impact on her as well.

“It has made me appreciate what emergency responders do and I’ve grown close with the Chesterfield Police Department and the Monarch Fire Protection District and they mean so much to me,” Jennifer said. “It’s great to have so many role models that I can look up to. I’m even considering being a police officer myself one day. Rockin’ 4 Relief has been a life changing experience that I plan on doing forever.”

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