Oct 28, 2008

Dating for a cause: Students raise money to help kids

by Kerah Kemmerer

 “When was the last time you dated 48 people in one night and helped a good cause?” This was the catch phrase for a speed-dating fundraiser hosted by the Liberty University chapter of the American Advertising Federation (AAF) Friday night, Oct. 24.
The event attracted over 60 individuals and raised about $250, according to AAF Treasurer Richard Sweeney.

“I’m really happy so many came out to help us support Kid’s Haven and its wonderful program,” AAF President Charles Adams said. “Each of these students and their little three minutes of love went to helping these children, and we are very happy God brought this together so perfectly.”

The AAF held the event to fund an advertising package for the non-profit organization, Kid’s Haven — A Center for Grieving Children. Any excess funds will be donated directly to Kid’s Haven. The package will be created and tailored to raise awareness of the haven and how it reaches out to grieving individuals.

Attendees poured into room 1491 in North Campus to meet new people.

“It was a lot of fun,” freshman Megan Frazier said. “It is a great way to meet people, and I am glad I came out.”

“I met a lot of cool guys,” sophomore Ashley Campbell said.

The $4 cover charge also entered an individual’s name in a raffle drawing. Local businesses donated gift cards or dinners to the raffle. The businesses include La Villa’s restaurant, Ham’s, Bull’s Steakhouse, Cold Stone Creamery, Mary Kay, O’Charley’s, Little Cucci’s and Applebees.

“It was very good environment,” senior Jesse Amaya said. “The music was good and there were a lot of home-baked goodies.”
Kid’s Haven reaches out to children, teens and adults who have lost a friend or family member due to illness, old age, accident or various other causes according to its Web site, kidshavenlynchburg.org.

“This is the first year that all the members were involved in choosing the charity that would receive our ad package,” Adams said. “We had to narrow it down from five and are quite happy with the choice.”

The package is threefold in its function. The advertising package provides a promotional video, assembled by senior and AAF officer Dan Jones. The program will also enhance awareness through branding across the community. Finally, the package will strive to generate new facilitators for the Kid’s Haven. Facilitators fulfill a counselor role and there is a great need for individuals who can give at least a year’s commitment to Kid’s Haven, according to Adams.

Executive Director of Kid’s Haven, Molly Roper Jenkins, shared her thoughts on what the AAF was providing for her organization, and what Kid’s Haven provides to the community.

“We are delighted to have this wonderful contribution from the Liberty family, as Kids’ Haven is all about family — helping to guide children and adults back to wholeness after death has rearranged their worlds,” Jenkins said. “The consequences of unresolved grief are significant, and so the work we do is vitally important to the health of community as we work in partnership with schools, counselors and faith communities to support individual grief journeys.”

The organization provides support groups twice a month at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Lynchburg. Volunteers also go into schools to provide workshops for individuals to raise awareness about how to deal with grief and offer their services, according to its Web site.

“Although certainly ‘informed’ by the faith traditions of the volunteers who facilitate our grief support groups, we do not get denominational in our care-giving,” Jenkins said. Jenkins sees the job as “holy work” as volunteers have to use a great amount of care and love when they help those in need.

They are not a professional counseling service and provide a list of resources on the Web site for those who are dealing with unbearable grief to the point that they may cause harm to themselves or others.


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