Friday, Bears without Borders hosted Drop the Mic, an open mic night to fundraise for their two week trip to Tonga this June. The night was filled with performances, including singing, dancing, comedy, and violin playing, by both M-A students and community members alike. A group of M-A football and rugby players performed the haka and poly club performed a traditional Tongan dance called mate ma'a tonga.
Last summer, Global Leaders went to Tonga to rebuild a middle school. With the project only halfway done, Jesse Fifita, who coaches M-A football’s defensive line, started Bears without Borders to continue that work. Drop the Mic raised $641.85, all of which will go towards reconstruction and supplies for the school.
“Bears without Borders is a program built within football that focuses on community engagement and personal development. What’s great about Bears without Borders is that it’s not available only to football players but also to all students of M-A,” said Fifita.
Having grown up in East Palo Alto and graduated from M-A in 2007, Fifita wanted to “give back” not only to his current community, but also to “the place where [his] parents came from because they gave [him] a better life out here. [He] fused together this service trip where [he] can take kids from out here and empower the youth out there.”
“It started as part of our football team, now it's become something a lot more. It's become a little community for us. A chance for us to go out and experience the culture of Tonga and do some service over there,” said Connor Gentile who performed Headlines by Drake and Take Me Home, Country Roads by John Denver.
Tavita Kofeloa, who performed I’m Yours by Jason Mraz on the ukulele, said the goal of Drop the Mic was “to hang out and have fun” and that the venue of Lytton Plaza in downtown Palo Alto was optimal for community inclusion and spreading awareness. He said “M-A is just for students but we wanted to make it open for parents, students, and all kinds.”
Sai Sema, who went on the first trip with Global leaders, said, “I promised the kids last year that I'd be here this year. I'm excited to see them and to have these new members on our team experience the same thing.”
Bears without Borders held another open mic night earlier in the year to raise money for M-A’s canned food drive.