Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Give Till It Hurts


We've been working really hard at fundraising. It's something that I love doing. Some people hate fundraising and feel it's begging for money. I guess in a sense it is. I think I missed my calling.
I got started years ago after the adoption of my second child. I took over the parents adoption group with not a clue what I was doing. We had no budget, no resources and no way for adoptive families to come together.I spent 3 wonderful years running this group and we managed to raise funds to support our activities, started a mentor program for new parents and those that arrived home with babies, began an adoption subsidy to help those who financially could not affort the cost of adoption and brought all of our families together at pumpking picking events, picnics, International Festivals and general outtings. I love bringing families together or helping people make connections. I guess that's why I love my homeschool group. Today, we had 3 fairly new people attend who discovered they all lived just minutes from each other. One was a mom who was homeschooling her 4 children for the first time and was really feeling like she needed to connect with others.
People don't fundraise because it's fun. Usually what happens is something in your life draws you to a particular cause. For us, it's been many different things throughout the years. This past year we got slapped in the face again when my husband started to lose more hearing. He has been profoundly deaf since age 2 but once again his hearing started to deteriorate. In August he went to have a Cochlear Implant placed. Activation of the implant is next week on the 10th. We have high hopes for him. But the other thing that will help him is his new Hearing dog. This will be his third hearing dog. We have no idea when the dog will arrive. NEADS, the program we are working with and have always worked with will let us know when they've found a perfect match. We are so excited, Larry's two other hearing dogs did so well and were truly a part of our family. They were an extension of Larry.
When we decided that another hearing dog was a good choice, we contacted NEADS. What we found out was that the price to train a dog was about $20,000. NEADS wants you to take a proactive approach in raising at least $10,000. The rest of the fee comes from donations and sponsorship through their many donors. $10,000 is a lot of money to us but I had no doubt we would be ok. I started with a website to fundraise, put out a call to my church, and everyone I know. In a few short months we had our 10 grand. But then something incredible happened. People still wanted to help. We received another $5000 donation and began our fundraising for Canines for Combat Vets-another of NEADS programs that matches service dogs with our injured vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
In the midst of this we decided to do a full fundraiser for them. Hall, band, silent auction-the whole bit. People started donating things for our silent auction. Good things like a weekend in New Hampshire, and artwork and tutoring and dog training and quilts and hand woven baskets and so many incredible things. And they bought tickets to come and support us and our cause. Friends volunteered to help at the event and help organize.
It has been a great testament to Larry and I. So many that are willing to help and "pay it forward" as we've always tried to do. Growing up on a farm, it's how I was brought up. Someone got sick and couldn't milk the cows-no problem- a neighbor came to help. They were canning vegetables from the garden and needed a hand-our whole family went to help and then we shared a meal that everyone contributed to.
I miss those times when people did things because there was a need not because they expected something in return. But this whole process has made my heart full and renews my hope that there still are really good people out there.
The dog above is our beautiful Boxer named Pete. Pete was a rescue and had some issues when we got him. We found Jeff from Solid K9 Training thru the referral of a friend. He helped us with Pete and still stops by occasionally to check on him. Jeff loves what he does and it shows by the number of hours he puts in everyday. It shows by the poop bags he donates. It shows by the number of dogs he rescues and trains from shelters for free, it shows when he returns phone calls immediately and how he'll barter for payment and it shows how he gets his whole family involved in training. Jeff did alot of work with us, and continues to do so. He's donating a basic training package to our fundraiser and will attend the event.
His wife Linda and their girls come to my homeschool group here everyweek. I helped her through her first tentative steps in homeschooling. I hope I did anyway.
It's all these things that we've missed so much of, that families seem to have lost. It's paying it forward and being kind and just lending a helping hand when people need it. For that, I am forever grateful. I hope we can continue in finding good causes. I don't ever think of the old fundraising addage, Give Till It hurts, I much prefer, "Give till it Helps."
For that I am forever grateful.

1 comment:

linda said...

Bev,
You have done more for my family and me than I can put into words. Your help has been so appreciated and we will be so thankful to you for years to come. When I was petrified about Homeschooling you reassured me. Your endless resources pointed me in the right direction too. Bev, you amaze me, you changed my life, and I am honored to know you.