Leah DavisCorbettAP Literature3/30/12Senior Project Speech Have you ever wanted to make a difference yet felt as though, alone, you would never beable to? Ever since I was a young girl I have had a passion for helping others; but I alwaysthought it impossible for me to make a difference on my own. My project is a missionaryendeavor to help a family in financial need. Since I would be raising funds through donations, I chose to research how the economyhas affected nonprofit organizations and how they have overcome many obstacles. Through myresearch I found that nonprofits only fair as well as the economy, so I knew this was going to bea difficult task. My product today is a presentation of the donations and expenditures that shows the flowof money involved in my journey. I entitled my project “Do Unto Others” from the Bible verseMatthew 25:40. This verse tells us that whatever we do unto others, good or evil, God will againdo unto us. I found this encouraging since, even if I was not able to obtain my goal for thisfamily, God still saw my efforts as a good deed. The process began by finding my Project Facilitator, Mrs. Nichelle Stewart. I went to herbecause she is extremely active in the community and is experienced in organizing fundraisers.She first connected me with Mrs. Susanna Brooks, a Free Home Elementary Counselor, whothen assigned me a family. This family consists of a single mother and three children. The family
lived in Florida where a hurricane destroyed their belongings. They were forced to move here tolive with the children’s grandmother. I then decided to help this family with Thanksgiving,Christmas, and basic household supplies. My first idea to gain donations was through donation jars. Mrs. Nichelle allowed me toborrow some of her jars. We washed the jars and added labels to them with information aboutmy project. I then asked businesses throughout the community if I could leave a jar at thatlocation. This was where the trouble for me began. I am a quiet person so asking these people forhelp was slightly outside of my comfort zone. I was able to overcome this obstacle and placedjars in eight locations around the community. Little did I know, however, the trouble had justbegun. I held a bake sale at Traditions as well as a yard sale at my grandmother’s house in orderto attain funds. I created a sign advertising my project, which helped my comfort, but I knew Iwould still have to communicate with people. It took me some time to step up but I graduallybegan greeting people and telling them about the family myself, instead of letting the sign do thetalking. Eventually, I was able to stand up and move away from the comfort of my display. OnceI stepped out of my comfort zone, some people began donating money without taking anything. Iwas surprised at how successful these events were as well as at how much I had grown as aperson. Another way I attempted to acquire donations was by writing letters to churches. This,shockingly, was unsuccessful. I only heard back from a fifth of the churches that I contacted,although, the ones that did respond were exceptionally helpful. Hightower Baptist Church invitedme to make a speech about my efforts. This was another stretch for me, but I was rewarded withan unexpected donation from the church after my speech. Another church, Lighthouse Baptist
Church, invited me to participate in a food scavenger hunt with their youth. They told me of theirgoal to donate a box of food to the family; however, they ended up giving me two boxes to taketo the family. A few other churches sent me money as well as other much needed supplies. As I began getting money together in order to buy items for the family, another surprisearose. Somehow, The Cherokee Tribune received word of my project. I was contacted for aphone interview. This was another difficult encounter for me, but the lady was exceedingly niceand supportive. Also, to the children’s and my enjoyment, a photo shoot was set up. Moredonations came flowing in after the article was released. Once I received all of my donations, it was time to support the family. My first actionwas to pay for the children to go to Farm Camp at Rockin’ S Farms, otherwise known as myProject Facilitator’s house. The children learned all about farming and even won a rabbit whilethere. Next, I intended to buy Halloween costumes for the children. I was blessed with adonation of the costumes instead. After this, I paid for their Thanksgiving meal. Since the familyis Cuban, I decided to buy them a Kroger Gift Card so that they could buy the food they wanted.My last mission was to help with Christmas. I was again blessed with donations of Christmasgifts, but I bought some gifts of my own with the money I received. Also, I bought wrappingpaper and boxes. In order to allow the mother to enjoy shopping for her children, I gave her someof the money as well. With the leftover money I was able to pay a power bill for the family along with somehousehold and school supplies. Just when I thought there was nothing more that I could expectfrom the community, I received another blessing. A local family contacted me and was willing todonate some of their old, well-kept furniture to the family. They supplied a couch, recliner,
tables, washing machine, and a dryer. My dad and I picked up the furniture and delivered it tothe family I was helping. Through this process I have learned not to let my quietness or the fact that I am a youngperson stop me. This project has helped me grow as a person by allowing me to understand that Ihave the strength to do anything. I do not think that I would enjoy a career in which I would haveto fundraise, but I do know that I will continue to look for ways to improve the lives of others. Ihope that you will join me by finding a task that is bigger than you and putting yourself aside tomake a difference. Thank you. Are there any questions?