Ayuda was founded in Spring of 2012. Originally, a group of 8-10 friends wanted a place where they could all get together to celebrate THON, regardless of what committee they were on. It wasn't until THON 2013 when things really took off; Ayuda started canning, holding fundraisers, and were paired with the Gora Family.
One of the founding members of Ayuda, Anthony (Ant), was Spanish. He was also involved in another organization at Penn State called Mission Mexico, which goes down to Mexico every year for an alternative spring break trip aimed at helping children and communities in need. The original execs got to talking about how the word "Ayuda" meant "help" in Spanish, and since that is exactly what they all wanted to do, it stuck. Several members since have been involved in both Ayuda and Mission Mexico.
The First Year
"The first year was a HOT MESS" - Pete Anastasios, Ayuda 2014
The meetings were short, sometimes 3 minutes long. They had no idea how to fundraise. Restaurants wouldn't organize fundraisers with them. The freshmen thought they were all crazy.
Luckily, family and friends brought in donations, as well as other friends on committees who credited their funds to Ayuda. By a stroke of luck, Ayuda were able to enter the dancer lottery and secure two dancers in their very first year.
Ayuda's First THON
"People knew about us because we were small but definitely the most fun." - Pete
Their first THON weekend was a blast. Julie and Sonia were Ayuda's first two dancers, and they had a solid support group of about 6 dedicated members in the stands all weekend (the rest were, of course, supporting on the floor from their various committees). Ayuda's total came in around 14th, not bad for their first year of serious fundraising.
"I'm not answering any of your questions, but here's a cute pic of us!" - Erica Lyle, Ayuda 2015