Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A wonderful day

The bike-a-thon came and went way too fast. In the days leading up to the event, a wonderful story ran in our local paper. Our boys were pictured on the front page! The story quickly circulated among our city, Facebook friends, email, and our church family. A lot of people were inspired by our kids' heart for other children... And we are so humbled by the interest and support of our community.

A lot of our dear friends, family, friends of friends, and even some complete strangers came out to the event to serve as volunteers. One little boy called us to offer the use of his little bounce house!

I had the honor and privilege of talking with parents about how our family came to be connected with the Sunflower House. I shared my story of an abusive childhood, God's saving grace, and the support groups that I now lead at our church. There were numerous conversations about the proactive steps parents can take to keep their kids safe, and even conversations between parents and children about how sometimes adults hurt kids. A friend of mine said that as she and her children baked goodies for our bake sale, that her children had questions about the purpose of this event. As their mother began talking with them about foster children and child abuse, it occurred to her that their family had had many conversations about families that struggle financially due to job loss, or families where a parent or child has lost their battle with a terrible illness, but she'd never talked with them about how sometimes parents hurt their children. When their discussions were over, her children understood that, through this bike-a-thon, we were helping to make lives a little easier for children who have struggled through some things that should never ever happen. I believe that in many households compassion grew through this event. We are so honored to be a part of that growth and awareness.

During our family's interview with the newspaper reporter, Zach was asked who he hoped would come out to the bike-a-thon. He said he wanted all of his friends to come, but also wanted people he didn't know to come. When asked for an exact number he replied, "Fifty-five. Or 76. Or 99." By our count, 98 people came! We are very, very happy with that.

A quick count...

We had 25 volunteers (7 teenagers, 3 kids ages 2-11)
36 bikers
37 parents (non-volunteers)

To-date, we have raised $596 with checks still arriving in the mail each day. Dozens of toys and gift cards were also donated!

We are so very proud of Zach & Luke. They helped with every step of the planning and they cannot wait to hand this money over to the two organizations. This has been such a wonderful experience for our family. Bryan and I look forward to seeing what the kids come up with next.

Pre-biking entertainment. Teenagers keep kids busy with the Limbo and 11 year-old Zak makes balloon animals!

Grand Marshal Steve. He was awesome - he didn't quit riding until the last biker was done.

Kids begin taking laps

We were surprised that Zach was the very last child to stop biking. He really LOVED this day! He cried a little when we got home, "Mom, I just wish we could have more bike-a-thon. And more balloon animals."

After biking, kids enjoyed some carnival activities - a bounce house, face painting, tattoos, colored hair spray, popsicles, baked goodies, writing letters to foster children, and a resource table for Mom and Dad.

Awesome volunteers at the registration table. We'd never met them before Saturday - just folks in the community who care about kids! (They are all friends of friends.)

Kids getting faces painted, tattoos & hair spray. (More balloon animals being made off to the left.)

One of my oldest friends manning the bake sale. Thank you to all of my dear girlfriends for making all those goodies!

The Shrader family meets Happy Bear

Kids from the community who could not wait to be a part of the bike-a-thon.

Thank you to everyone who supported this event. So many of you gave of your time, talent and money. We appreciate you so very much. We are richly blessed with an amazing group of friends, terrific family and an amazing community in which to live. There are countless children and families who will benefit from your generosity. On their behalf, we thank you. You are making life a little easier for someone today.


Marci said...

What a great event and what a wonderful child Zach is for coming up with it!!

Cori said...

Awesome! You guys are definitely doing something right!

rachel vaughn said...

great job!! thanks for doing this!