As a mother, I will never give up on my child. As a mother of a child who has autism, I will never give up hope.
I look into his eyes and I see all the potential that he has to offer to this beautiful world and I just know that one day the world can see what I see.

Follow my blog as I share my life and my experiences as a person who loves someone with autism.

Monday, June 11, 2012

One person really can make a difference.

This blog post will be detailing my full experience working for the Children’s Miracle Network through Walmart. I hope it inspires you to get involved with your communities charities and events. I know it sounds very High School Musical cliche, but it’s true... We are all in this together!

In case you are not aware, I work for Walmart. :)

Let me just start off by saying that I heart my Walmart and it’s involvement with the community, especially with the Children’s Miracle Network. Since joining the network in 1994, Walmart has raised over $50 million dollars helping children’s hospitals across Canada. That is A LOT of smiles!!

I wanted to share with you all the fundraising events my Walmart did to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network this year. For example, just before we became a Walmart Supercentre (selling produce, meat, and frozen goods) we got to throw pies at our managers. It was a great ‘stress reliever’ for all the efforts the associates made to ensure we would be ready and opened by our grand opening deadline. The more you donated, the closer you got to stand towards your target. Everyone who participated donated the full price, including me... Remember, proceeds of getting to toss a pie at the store manager benefited the children! It was all for the children! ;) I pied my store manager and co-manager... at the same time... hehe

One of my favourite fundraising events was selling popcorn. The aroma of freshly popped popcorn (even better than the movie theatre popcorn) lured all over the store. I became a master at the craft of popping the popcorn and volunteered my time to make it.

While the Vancouver Canucks were in the Stanley Cup Playoffs this year if you donated $1 to the Children’s Miracle Network you got to wear your Canucks jersey at work. Every single game day I took my fan power to another level and wore a green wig, green and blue makeup, and a Canucks shirt. We didn’t win the Stanley Cup, but we got to rock out in something other than our black and white dress code at work. That alone was worth it. :)

Another fundraising idea (remember, it’s all for the kids) was to stick our store co-manager in a dog cage for hours and customers could donate either to get him out, or keep him in. Who would of thought that that would be a big success! ;) And don’t worry, no managers were harmed in the process. We occasionally tossed him a bone. :)

We also had an International Pot Luck where you could bring in your cultures dish and everyone could donate to eat it. Daniel made our little shark watermelon for me to bring.

Some associates even baked their own food to sell to other associates and the proceeds benefited the Children’s Miracle Network too. I discovered I like baklava! :)

We had more potlucks for the staff, BBQs for our customers, and even a book sale. All of these events proceeds benefited the Children’s Miracle Network.

Now where my involvement REALLY began...

A month or two ago I was asked by one of my managers to attend the Children’s Miracle Network fundraising kick-off event. This is where we find out what kind of official fundraising events would take place for the upcoming weeks to benefit this charity. It was a huge honour to be asked to go as it’s managers only invite, and when I discovered that it would be hosted at the same facility that Bryce was diagnosed with autism, I just felt even more compelled to do whatever I possibly could do to be successful with this fundraising event and exceed all expectations.

During the meeting it was mentioned that their would be a little friendly competition between the Walmart’s of British Columbia to create the best way to display the Children’s Miracle Network balloons (balloons we sell to our customers who donate $1). This is my first year in the charity committee and officially being part of the brainstorming process so I wanted to impress. I came up with the idea of making inspirational words out of the paper air balloons pieces of paper and hanging them up around the store. I personally made each word at home and had many different associates help me hang them around our store. You can check out our Hope. Love. Courage. Strength. Dream. Create. Live. blog post to see how that turned out.

We even bought a Children’s Miracle Network big donor balloon to show our support!

During our latest charity committee meeting we were thinking of some more fundraising ideas that Walmart could do to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network. Off the top of my head I blurted out, “penny drive!” I figured with pennies being discontinued and eventually not being of any value, I figured people would probably have no problem donating a few here and there. I put up an aquarium right in front of the entrance and people immediately started leaving their spare change and it wasn’t just pennies! It was very heart-warming. It was just a visual reminder that people actually care. I don’t have the numbers yet, but I’m pretty sure we raised over $300 alone from the penny drive!

I almost had an opportunity to be part of the Children’s Miracle Network Miracle Weekend telethon but due to some miscommunication it ended up falling through, however I do plan on attending next years televised broadcast, so make sure you watch me then! :)

The real icing on the cake for me was Walmart’s Walk for Miracles. Our store’s team name was Burna-bees. I made the banner we proudly carried along the walk.

It was my first year going and it was super fun for the whole family. Bryce enjoyed the bouncy castle and I blew bubbles for everyone. The music, the atmosphere, the people, the reasons we were all there, it was all very beautiful! It really just made everything we all did, just feel so worth it!

Anyways, I just really wanted to share this experience with whoever reads this. I really enjoyed fundraising for the Children’s Miracle Network and I encourage you to do whatever you can to be part of your community or local charities. I like to think I did something to make tomorrow a little better. One person really can make a difference.

Thanks for reading,

Update: We got the final count from the penny drive... $535.05! I’d like to thank all of our customers who gave us their change!

Special thanks to Stan, the branch manager of the Bank of Montreal that we used the coin counter at. He was extremely helpful, very friendly, and helped fill the bucket we used to put our coins in to dump into the machine.

Bryce was a big help with the last load of the 13,000+ pennies we dropped into the coin counter at the Bank of Montreal.

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