This past weekend my daughter hosted her very first fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House of NY. Her interest in the House began when she participated in the Fun Run in Kindergarten and she became committed, after having had the opportunity to tour the House. Her goal is to raise $12,775. This will cover a full year stay for a family in need of a special place to live while their child receives treatment for cancer.
Before this event, with the help of her little sister, she raised $1000.00 through holding a number of auctions of arts and crafts for family and friends. Once our generous support network had shelves overflowing of homemade tchotchkes, we knew it was time to come up with a new idea. With the help of their wonderful aunt who happens to be an amazingly talented zumba instructor, we decided on an ‘Ultimate Zumbathon Fundraiser’. The Ronald McDonald House helped us secure space and we were lucky enough to have a beautiful ballroom donated for our event. We invited everyone we knew, ordered snacks and balloons, made decorations and put together gift bags.
On the day of the event, with the help of family and friends, we set up and eagerly awaited our guests. I watched as the room filled up with friends from all chapters of my daughters’ lives. There were friends from pre-school, girl scouts, current classmates, friends of friends we met for the first time and many children of our own friends. My daughter excitedly took hold of the microphone and confidently told a room of at least 100 people all about the Ronald McDonald House, her goal, and how thankful she was for everyone’s help. I beamed with pride while she spoke – because of her youthful confidence, her generous spirit and her enthusiasm to make a difference, all at only seven years old. I couldn’t help but imagine all the philanthropic possibilities in her future. We listened to two wonderful women from the House talk about it and the various programs, and most importantly about the amazing kids who stay there. They made it a point to thank the children at the event for coming together to help other kids. The smiles and cheers in the crowd were heartfelt. The young crowd was then ready to boogie! My sister-in law pumped up the music and for well over an hour, more than fifty kids ranging in age from one to twelve had a blast, rocking out impressive zumba moves, all for a great cause. The energy in the room was simply overwhelming.
As I watched a room full of beautiful, healthy children without a care in the world dance the afternoon away with their friends, I couldn’t help but think of the families at the Ronald McDonald House, just a block away, battling a devastating disease. Most of the children dancing were far too young to understand what the money is being raised for, and that’s more than ok. There’s plenty of time for them to learn about diseases and struggles in life. The message they did receive was that it is a very good thing to come together, help others and that they should each be proud of being part of a special day.
My daughter’s goal for the event was to raise $1000.00. So far, through everyone’s unbelievable generosity, she has raised $1700 and the donations continue to come in. Although, she has a way to go to reach her ultimate goal, she is now determined to make the Ultimate Zumbathon an annual event and is energized to come up with new ideas to raise more money. Since the weekend, I’ve heard from many parents who have told me how their children are now motivated to make a difference.
For my daughters, they walked away proud of what they had done, feeling really good about helping others and most importantly, excited to keep going. The revelations for my husband and I were significant. Even though at first, it seemed daunting to pull this event off, the moment we started telling people about our idea, everyone wanted to help. This event was successful due to a whole network of people who went out of their way to make it happen, and for that, we feel very blessed. I’ve realized that in addition to all the other parental responsibilities we have, we must create altruistic opportunities and experiences which our daughters can take ownership of, so that the concept of ‘giving back’ becomes an integral component of who they are and how they choose to live their lives.
In this uncertain and sometimes frightening world we live in, it’s so beautiful to be reminded that good people will always outnumber the bad, and that there are helpers of all sizes, everywhere.
Prior to becoming a stay at home mom, Mina was an HR Recruiter for years. Now her time is spent happily juggling the demands of two young daughters while trying to expose them to the endless adventures the city has to offer.
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