January 15, 2019
To infinity and below! Senior Jessie Zinderman is taking on the Super Plunge at the Sandy Point State Park on Saturday, January 19th. After years of participating in the Polar Bear Plunge, Zinderman has pledged to do the Super Plunge this year, where she will jump into the freezing water once every hour for a full 24 hours.
To accomplish this goal, Zinderman had to raise $10,000 that will in turn be donated to fund the Special Olympics. Where most plungers would use corporate sponsorships, Zinderman has chosen to fund this $10,000 without any corporate sponsors. If this goal is accomplished, she would be the first person to do the Super Plunge without that help.
Zinderman has done the Polar Bear Plunge since 2016 and has decided to do the Super Plunge this year. Knowing for at least the next couple of years she will be in college and unable to complete the Polar Bear Plunge, she was inspired to “go out with a bang!” Zinderman initially began working with the Special Olympics in the sixth grade with their bowling team, and now is a part of their swimming and kayaking team.
The journey to raising $10,000 has not been an easy one. Apart from receiving a print of John Harbaugh from the Baltimore Ravens to be auctioned off for funding, Zinderman has relied solely on individual donations. She noted she found this more difficult as a high school student, where people are less able to contribute large donations in her daily life.
Zinderman has actively used social media to fundraise and bring attention to this cause, crediting this as her main source of funds. Still, Zinderman used all resources available to her, emailing people and having her mom do the same to her work community. Zinderman even made the dedicated decision to ask solely for donations for Christmas as opposed to the presents she would normally be given. This raised her somewhere around $1,200.
The senior also acknowledged that she wouldn’t have been able to raise this much money without any help, recognizing the community efforts that have been dedicated to her plunge, saying, “the Atholton community has been extremely helpful in helping me reach my goal.” Atholton’s JROTC program committed to helping to fundraise, as did Mrs. Heather Haffey, who has taught Zinderman for close to four years now.
JROTC heard about Zinderman’s goal to raise this $10,000 to complete this challenging task, and decided to use their large program to assist her efforts. As a group, they requested each JROTC student bring in at least $1.00 to raise a minimum of $238. They surpassed this goal, raising over $300, as some students chose to donate more, resonating with her dedication and the cause she worked so hard to help.
Junior Sarah Moore is an active member in JROTC who finds the cause very important herself. Moore has volunteered for Special Olympics once a year at James E. Duckworth Regional School, where she participates in different activities with the children, such as face painting. This experience was a leading factor for her when encouraging JROTC and donating herself.
Mrs. Haffey was another Atholton contributor, who has taught Zinderman and has a similar dedication to this cause as Zinderman. Hearing about Zinderman’s pledge to do the Super Plunge without corporate sponsorships, she knew she had to help however possible. Mrs. Haffey got permission to send out Zinderman’s information in a staff email as well as spread the word to the community. Her goal is to make this fundraising opportunity as “widespread as possible.”
Along with this, Mrs. Haffey is hopeful seeing what Zinderman is doing. “What a better way to start a new year than to support a fellow Raider to make such a huge impact?” she said.
Zinderman is excited to go back to doing the plunge where she has made memories “despite the cold.” For the past three years, she has done this with her Special Olympics Swim Team, and Zinderman found this experience “incredibly heartwarming.” Zinderman hopes to raise this money as she has seen how helpful it is, and does not want to see the program end anytime soon. Special Olympics is free for all athletes, making it so important to donate.
Zinderman accomplished her goal early this morning. While she knows it has been difficult because $10,000 is a substantial amount, she is thankful to each contributor, writing individual thank you cards to each donator. Finally, Zinderman adds how fortunate she feels to be raising for this cause, saying, “for me, being able to get to $10,000 would show me the immense amount of support I have from my friends, family, and community. It would be so exciting to know that people close to me and dedicated to the cause rallied together to help me reach my goal.”