I SPEND A good amount of my time doing community service work and participating in charitable events. You know, things like organizing a fundraising event, raking yards for the elderly or attending benefit dinners for non-profits. I like to think of myself as a do-gooder. But, am I really?
I've always stopped short of offering the kind of help that I call “messy.” This kind of help might get me face-to-face with someone who actually needs it. This kind of help would also require me to develop a personal relationship with someone different from me and disrupt my neat little lifestyle.
Leigh Anne Tuohy wasn't afraid of getting “messy” when she invited Michael Oher, a young man who needed a safe place to stay, in to her neat little lifestyle and he eventually became a part of her family. You may have heard of their story. It was made into a movie called “The Blind Side,” and Sandra Bullock won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Tuohy.
Tuohy will be in Manchester on Sept. 12 to tell her story at Feeding Hope 2012, a fundraiser for the New Hampshire Food Bank. The event will be held in the Food Bank's East Industrial Park Drive warehouse with food prepared by students of its culinary program.
I hope to attend this event because it's one of those easy and familiar ways that I can call myself a community do-gooder. But I also hope Tuohy's story will inspire me to get a little “messy” and go beyond just providing a canned good or cash donation to the Food Bank. I'd like to think that I can be like Tuohy and provide not just food to someone who is hungry, but also some love and compassion.
Tickets for Feeding Hope 2012 are $100 or $150 with admission to a VIP reception with Tuohy. Sponsorship packages are available and include tickets to the event. Smart businesses would jump on this opportunity to help out the hungry people of New Hampshire while also providing a motivating experience for some lucky employees, colleagues and clients.
For tickets or sponsorship information, contact Colleen Cowette at email@example.com or 669-9725, ext. 129.
One raft, two Jasons, three wishes
Jason Perry and Jason Tremblay are doing it again. Beginning Tuesday at 7:30 a.m. they plan to spend 36 hours in a raft in the middle of a river. Last year it was the Merrimack River in Manchester. This year they're heading east to brave the waters of the Piscataqua River near Prescott Park in Portsmouth. Last year's Rafting for Wishes challenge raised $36,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. That's right, $1,000 for every hour they bounced around the river.
When he's not rafting, Perry, of Dunbarton, is the director of sales and marketing for the Verizon Wireless Arena. Tremblay, of Manchester, is the director of philanthropy for the Make-A-Wish Foundation's New Hampshire chapter.
I'm sure last year's experience was exhausting, but Perry said he still smiles every time he looks down on the river near Arms Park, and that's why he's doing it again. “… I say 36 hours is nothing, but the $36,000 raised means everything as it can grant three children their wish, the wish that could change the course of so much for them, providing them with fond memories and most of all, allowing them the opportunity to be 'normal' and not worry about the many trips to the hospital but instead to be a kid again,” Perry wrote on his fundraising page.
Last year they had to dance for their last donation and were even “cooled off” by the hose of some friendly firefighters. This year is sure to bring even more antics.
You can help the Jasons grant wishes by making a donation at newhampshire.wish.org.
The British are coming – again!
The Olympics have begun in Britain, so naturally the British have come to Manchester. Today is the first day of The British Are Coming Soccer Camp, an annual tradition of the Manchester North Soccer League. No one involved seems to know exactly how long this camp has been going on. Camp Director Graham Hesketh has traveled here from North London for his 16th year, but I know that it's been going on a lot longer than that because I used to attend when I was a tiny dribbler.
I remember three things about this camp. It was fun, the coaches were all very handsome young men and I couldn't understand anything they were saying. I'm happy to say the camp has come a long way since I attended. I'm sure it's still fun and our Yankee kids are still having trouble understanding the Queen's English, but the group of 17 British coaches now includes women.
I'd like to thank the very busy Jim O'Connell — who I learned is Irish, not British — for filling me on the camp and the people who run it. When I called the number on the camp brochure and heard an accent on the other end of the line, I assumed I was talking to one of the British coaches. Nope. Turns out O'Connell lives in Manchester, is involved in at least half of the city's non-profit and civic organizations and is mentioned in this newspaper quite often. Shame on me for not knowing him already.
O'Connell said the British staff, which includes many semi-professional players, is bolstered by about 15 local high school players. This year's camp takes place at Livingston Park for either a half or full day, depending on the child's skill level. The younger players concentrate on fundamental techniques and the more experienced players will learn small group and team tactical situations.
Who knows? This year's camp may produce some future Olympians. Safe to say that was never a danger in my case. After almost a decade of recreational soccer my skills weren't even good enough for Central High School's J.V. team. But I don't blame the soccer camp. I was just too busy looking at the cute British coaches to keep my eye on the ball. I wonder if I'm too old to enroll at this year's camp.
For more information, go to mnsl.org.
NH365.Org Event of the Week
This Saturday is the Show N' Shine Car Show at the Union Leader East Industrial Park Drive campus. Owners of antique, classic and custom cars and motorcycles from all decades are invited to enter their car in the show. Registration is from 8 to 9 a.m. and is $20 per vehicle. The event, which will feature food, music and vendors, is free to attend for those who just want to come and see these fantastic cars. Awards will be presented to the best car of each decade, best motorcycle and best of show at the end of the show at 2 p.m. All proceeds go to the Union Leader Charitable Fund, Inc. and the Union Leader Santa Fund for the Salvation Army, so come on down to support these very worthy causes.
To have your event considered as the NH365.org Event of the Week, submit it for free at NH365.org.