October 16, 2011

All in a Day's Work

So much happening so little time. . .

A brief update on the playground status.

My church was encouraging congregations to perform a day of service.  In conjunction and recognition of this, our governor declared Sept. 24th to be a state-wide day of service as well.  My church congregation wanted to build the retaining wall needed for the preparation of the site of the future playground.  Our congregation is wonderful and includes a dozen or so children with special challenges, so this chosen project for them would reflect their unique and special chemistry as a ward.

I worked all week long with the general contractor to excavate the site, brought him lunches and dinners on site to keep him going as he and his men worked overtime to keep our project deadline.  I worked with the county to be granted a waiver for the 150 tons of dirt and asphalt we hauled out.  This saved us over $12,000.  I coordinated with a local stone company for the gravel base to be hauled in, which they donated to the project -- which saved us over $10,000.  I met building professionals at Home Depot where I purchased all the materials and had them delivered for the big day -- using our Home Depot Foundation grant - that saved us $3500.  Then came in my wonderful congregation from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for the day of service.  We had children to grandpas and every age in between helping out.  We had the expertise of many skilled craftsman in our group that greatly aided our efforts.  The church members laid over 1000 linear feet of retaining wall, installed a french drain, back filled with gravel and capped off the wall.  We had 150 members whose work offered over 500 man-hours of volunteer labor - you can figure out what we saved with that!  The local paper was there and wrote an article of that day.

There have been many mini-miracles associated with this playground already.  During that week it was supposed to storm heavily all week.  Each overcast day the skies held tight and a more severe storm would be predicted for the next day - when, again, all was still dry.  And so the site prep was completed with a day to spare - on which, it poured.  Saturday, the day of service, was supposed to be the worst weather of all.  I got a sunburn that day.  Some may choose to see it as a coincidence, I choose to see miracles.

Prior to the site preparations there have been windows opened and leads that have resulted in more donations or words of encouragement and gratitude from others - particularly families of special needs children that has been a blessed boost at a time when I would need one.  When I think that we will never reach our fundraising goal we receive another grant or two to encourage me.  Just this week we were awarded 2 more grants from a local bank and from CVS.

After working on the retaining wall all day, Alan and I went out that night to a fancy dinner date in Annapolis.  As soon as we got there, we got a call from our babysitter that Bridger was having a tonic clonic seizure and vomiting all over.  (can't a tired couple even get a date?!) We shoved an appetizer down our throats while we fielded phone calls from the neurologist on call and returned home.  Bridger had an adverse reaction to the seizure-stopping medication and to sum it up, he was screaming non-stop for the next 5 days with intermittent seizures and a couple days in the hospital.  I have learned how to survive these bumps by turning all of that negative energy and stress created by these situations into a positive direction.  This only fuels my desire for the playground that much more as these children need a happy place to go to balance all of the not-so-happy things they have to endure.

Now I am calling on all of my friends and family for help. . . ready?? :)

We are nominated for the Clorox Power a Bright Future grant.  This is a $50,000 grant that is VOTE-BASED.  Yes, a simple popularity contest!  The voting period is from 10/24 - 12/9 and you can vote twice a day, once via text and once online.  I need every single reader of this blog (all 7 of you:) to think of 25 friends that you can talk to and get their commitment to vote for us, vote every day, twice a day and commit them to think of 25 of their own friends to do the same.  This will FINISH our fundraising needs and we will build this playground!

Go to www.powerabrightfuture.com and search by keyword "building bridges" to see our nomination.  Go ahead and do the initial registration so you can be ready to vote.  You know I'm going to be reminding you:)  Can you do it?  Can you help me?  Can you vote, tell your friends to vote - will you be part of this initiative?  More info to come on this.  Go check out the website and learn more in the meantime.  You can recognize us by our logo. . .
Happy places, happy faces.  Let's make it happen!!!