Friday, June 17, 2011

The Power of Women: Raising Big Funds in a Small Community

The Power of Women: Raising Big Funds in a Small Community

When the rest of us were huddled with our coffee cups and waiting for the fabled February thaw to begin, five creative women were drawing up plans for a summer event that would raise much-needed funds for the local Lakeside Association and our community’s volunteer fire company. The result? The June 5 Lakeside Association’s Lakeside Home Walking and Taste of Edinboro.

Debbie, Diana Julie, Kate, and Nicole convinced homeowners to open their residences for the tour. They encouraged local businesses to set up tasting events in each of the homes and convinced local artists-including our own Claudia- to participate in a project to paint 10 Adirondack chairs for auction. They gathered items for a Chinese auction and celebrated when the local florist’s shop Le Jardin offered to decorate each home with beautiful floral displays. Entry was set at $10 for participants buying tickets before June 5, and $12.50 on that Sunday.

Why pick June 5 as the date? The traditional Edinboro Triathlon was set for June 4 this year, and the group connected with the race committee to share costs for tents and portapotties.

Over 600 people took part in the event, enjoying the beautiful homes, the great food, and the chance to see and talk to people they may not have seen in years. Over $10,000 was raised in one day.

What was the best part? The great weather? No, although it was a beautiful day. The money raised? No, although it was an amazing financial boon for both organizations. One of the dynamic planners, Julie, said, “Cooperation was the best part.”

It was an unanticipated gift for the five women to realize that so many people were willing to help out to make the Lakeside Home Walking and Taste of Edinboro a great success. Want to see the extensive list of people who helped?  See the Edinboro News, June 16, Page 5 full-page "Thank you" from the Fab. Five. And our own blog contributors were-of course-on the list:  Tom and Claudia, Marty and Gary, Kip and Cheryl,  Linda and Mark

To those 5 super-organized and civic-minded women who, in the dead of winter,  dreamed up a plan that would benefit the whole community this summer, thank you from all of us. 

And to Julie for offering information on the event for the blog and for correcting those mistakes in the writer's text!  Thank you for both.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Special Advice for Our Growing Children and Grandchildren, Girls and Boys Both

Just when we think we've done an OK job raising our own children, some much smarter woman comes along and tells us what we can do to help children evaluate relationships.  In this case, that woman is Annie Fox, educator and online advisor.    Although she focuses on girls, her advice is useful for boys as well.

Fox talks to girls about their friends:  the real ones and those who really aren't.  She helps them to see ways to recognize which relationships are good ones and worth keeping versus those that negatively impact them.

She insists that girls are especially "ill-equipped to deal with the social land mines that seem to appear at ever younger ages"(In "Give Kids Friendly Advice,"  Alicia Sultan, McClatchy Newspapers).

Have we forgotten the hard times we had in school?  Many of us acknowledge that the school experience can be a truly painful experience.  Do you remember the pain of going to elementary school, maybe in the 3rd. grade when one day you were a member of the playground group and the next day you were crying because they excluded you?

How about that bus ride as you watched your friends make nasty remarks about the girl seated in front of you, seeing her tearing up and you not speaking up for fear of being singled out yourself.  What could you have done or said?

How about high school when you arrived as a freshman with middle school friends only to find you were no longer invited to parties because you didn't drink?  Lots of tears and pain, especially for girls, but for boys as well.

Fox emphasizes that girls tend to brush aside their own hurt feelings and belittle their emotions.  They don't want to confront a friend or lose status among their peer group.

Those of us who have spent a lifetime in teaching might add that boys cover their hurt feelings as well, and they are hurt by childhood and adolescent cruelties, too.

Fox recommends that parents teach children early-as early as age 4-to tell people when they've been hurt.

While acknowledging how hard it is to speak up, parents need to encourage children-girls and boys alike to say "I didn't appreciate what you said.  It hurt my feelings."  Sounds simple, right?  And learning to do so helps to build a child's confidence.  It helps to bring into focus what each child  expects from a  good friend while she/he learns to recognize  the behavior of those who are not.

Some of us who thought we did an OK job of raising our own children read Fox's simple advice and realize what we should have done.  Our  own sons and daughters might have had an easier time navigating the pain of childhood relationships had we taught them to just say, "I didn't appreciate what you said.  It hurt my  feelings."

Hopefully our own children will do a better job in preparing their children to deflect the slings and arrows that seem to be prevalent in childhood relationships.  Then our granddaughters and grandsons will be stronger, better able to cope with the 'social land mines' that Fox describes, and more capable of recognizing true friends while letting go of those who aren't.  We'll be sending them off to school exuding confidence, knowing they can handle social situations, even those awful 'land mines'.

We Have New Babies!

Great news!

Two baby boys have been added to our growing list of beautiful grandchildren.  Scott and Karen welcomed Wesley in May.  In the same week, Pearl and David greeted their second grandchild, Ethan.

Our congratulations to both sets of grandparents.  Grandchildren-one of  life's very best gifts!