Our second project of the journey took place in my hometown of Effingham, Illinois. We worked with Roses From Linda, a local nonprofit making a difference in the lives of families battling an illness or medical situation. This organization was founded by TJ Hodges, a high school friend of mine. His work helps families face their challenges with the support of their community behind them.
Our goal with Roses From Linda was to launch the fundraising campaign for a little boy named Uriah. Uriah is six years old, loves the Wolverine action hero and says his favorite subjects at school are math and lunch. Uriah lives with muscular dystrophy, and this year the disorder has severely diminished his mobility. His doctors, teachers and family know a wheelchair is needed to increase his independence and assist in giving him the best possible care. Roses From Linda heard about the family’s need and jumped in to help. One strategy Roses From Linda uses to raise funds for needs such as this one is through volunteer labor. A community member who would have paid for a service allows volunteers to do the work instead and then donates the money to the fundraising effort.
Today, we were the volunteer laborers. With Brian in Indianapolis to address some tasks for our trip, the girls, my mom and I arrived at the donor’s house ready to work. Kyle and Dannielle Harden are getting ready to put their house on the market and needed some help with house cleaning and window washing. As an extra bonus, the girls also gave their two dogs a bath. In exchange, Dannielle and Kyle made a generous donation to seed Uriah’s wheelchair fund.
After working at their house, the girls and I headed down to Effingham County’s Early Learning Center where Uriah attends kindergarten. TJ Hodges and the staff of Roses From Linda were there to present Uriah with the big surprise that the organization would be launching a fundraising effort in his honor. He was sweet and grateful and excited to hear about the new wheels he’ll soon be getting. This summer a number of community events and other volunteer projects will be organized to help raise the money needed for this little boy’s new electronic wheelchair. Anyone can donate to this fund. Roses From Linda is in the process of setting up a special account just for Uriah, so I’ll be posting that information soon for anyone interested in contributing to this effort.
Today was a fun day. It was a perfect example of why we’ve set out on this journey. Just like the starfish story, this small effort made a difference. One family spent one afternoon helping one little boy get one thing he really needs. It mattered. In the process our girls learned about giving their time and effort to others, I connected with friends I hadn’t seen in years, and we met new people invested in improving the lives of others. It was a good day in my hometown.