In the Community

Western Canada Region

3.1   The Ray Lowry Project – Lessons in Leadership, Faith and Hope 

By Curtis Hilgartner, Western Canada, HSIT 

It has been a great year for HSIT and The Ray Lowry Project (raylowryproject.com/info/about-the-project/), the annual community service events that include the “Bewitching Santa” fundraising Halloween party and the “Christmas Families” shopping and gift-wrapping event. 

We tried a few new experiments and were rewarded with a multitude of lessons. There is one lesson that strikes me as most profound.  It has to do with volunteers and giving. We spent a lot of time chasing men and women to volunteer. 

This year we started our volunteer drive early. The emphasis of “why we do this” was presented in a few different methods. What we learned is the “why” does not motivate. Our culture hits us with the “sky is falling why” all the time. Everything is important. Everything needs you, your time and money now. So if the “why” doesn’t work to motivate, what does?

Answer: giving your volunteers ownership, a chance to learn, and a reward of experience. The biggest burnout volunteers experience is from being tasked to death. We removed that negativity and kept the shifts to 1:15 minutes. We also kept the job simple and straightforward. And most of all, we made sure each volunteer position was needed. In three years the Ray Lowry Project has lowered the labor hours for our fundraiser by over 40 percent. That’s huge. 

In the end, all the juggling and experiments paid off. We spend all year working in relationships to put on a Halloween dance called “BEWITCHING SANTA.” From that we raise money to provide hope and faith for those in need at Christmas. This year, through our lessons over the years, we raised more money than ever. We are delivering more hampers then ever. That’s what we do. 

In providing hope and faith, it is not of religious hope and faith. It is faith that good things happen and hope that there are good people in this world. I love this project. For giving faith to those who need it is the stepping-stone to growing a great community. 

And what a great community we have where we get to deliver 75 hampers this Christmas. Wow. 

Curtis Hilgartner can be reached at Thepoohba@gmail.com

New England Region

3.2   The 56ers – Giving Back in Order to Grow!

In New England we have started a team of men and women – from MDI and the Family of Women but not limited to those circles – that is committed to giving blood on a 56-day cycle, or every two moons. We call ourselves “The 56ers.”

We are dedicated to connecting through this process no matter when or where we donate. This has developed from our annual June blood drive inspired by teammate Steven Honyotski who was CFO for MDI for three years. Honyo was in a horrible accident in 2004 and received over 100 units of blood in 14 operations while being in the hospital 200 days. He decided to give back by instigating this annual blood drive to engage our community in giving the gift of life, in thanks for his life and all the other lives saved.  We in New England have now taken this on as a bimonthly Rite to Bare Arms!

As FOW’s Sarah Blumenstock Girrell communicated, “Just so you know, my son Jess will be donating with me when we go in on November 8 … this will be his first donation, ever!” 

So, this is a simple no-brainer way for us to “Defend Humanity,” “Be an example to children” and show our children how they can do the same. Let us pass the torch!

We in BackBone, JawBone, Mountain Warriors Divisions and FOW have taken this on and invite you to join us all over North America. It’s very simple: let us know that you intend to be a 56er by e-mailing Info@BloodDriveForLife.com.  Check out our website www.BloodDriveForLife.com, make an appointment and invite others to join you. 

In June 2014 Honyo set a goal for us: in twenty years from 2004 – 20,000 pints. After ten years we are approaching 2,000 pints, so let’s get on it!

BrerBloodBear ~ Elliott Place

BackBone Division

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