top of page

CHAMPS Massachusetts

The South Hadley Campaign

Congressman Neal

Chelsea Fernandes, a 16-year old High School student in South Hadley, Massachusetts, decided to go it alone when her school decided not to run a CHAMPS Campaign because of other commitments. Chelsea gathered information, designed a strategy, and with the support of her extended family and local State Representative John Scibak, became the first student to run a successful campaign and sponsor her own dog.

Creative thinking, dedication, and a heart of gold drove Chelsea for over a year to accomplish her goal. Representative John Scibak mentored and cheered Chelsea on every inch of the way. Chelsea held raffles, sold CHAMPS Bracelets, had bake sales, gave presentation to civic organizations and wrote hundreds of letters to raise the money. And, when a Washington, D.C. donor heard her story he offered to match her money dollar for dollar! Chelsea reached her goal in one school year and traveled to Washington, D.C. to attend The Marshall Legacy Institute’s “Clearing the Path” Gala in May 2006 to meet that donor, John Laughner, and Mrs. Joan Wismer who offered to help as well, and to be honored as a CHAMPS Student Leader.

At the CHAMPS Workshop the day after the Gala, Chelsea received the coveted “Emerging Global Leader” (EGL) Award, and was one of only two students invited to travel to Bosnia to meet her dog. Chelsea named her dog South Hadley, in honor of her town!

bottom of page