There are a lot of things that get me excited. Cheesecake, eight hours of uninterrupted sleep and a clean house just to name a few. Who wouldn’t want all of these things all of the time?
What I’ve learned over the years, though, is that the thing that really puts me on Cloud Nine is making a difference in the community. There’s just nothing like it. It often times starts off small…smiling at a stranger at the grocery store and getting a smile back or offering to bring dinner to a stressed out new mom. The next thing you know, you’re spending every other Saturday afternoon serving food to the homeless at the local shelter or training for a charity half marathon. Putting “goodness” out in the world becomes a passion.
That’s how Positive Force Consulting came about. Yes, I wanted to be my own boss and make enough money to avoid having to live in my car, but more than anything else, I wanted to incorporate putting goodness into my everyday actions, proving that this was possible even in a business setting. I can honestly say I wake up excited and energized about each and every project I take on.
One of these amazing projects is the work I have done over the past year with St. Philip Catholic School in El Campo. What an honor to work with the caring and dedicated staff and parents at this school that has served its community for the past 63 years! I was approached by Duane Korenek, a current SPS parent, about putting together a structured alumni fundraising campaign. However, after meeting with Duane and principal Gwen Edwards, I knew the potential to create something bigger was at hand. Instead of focusing on just the alumni, I worked with the SPS team to create and structure a community-wide annual fundraising strategy. Unlike public schools, St. Philip receives all of its financial support through special events, donations, Parish assistance, and tuition. They receive zero government assistance. With the economy still shaky, especially in rural areas, the administration of St. Philip’s knew that raising tuition was not an option. But they needed funds to improve their technology, bring in new programs and curriculum offerings, and provide maintenance for overall campus safety. After all, these are our future leaders they’re teaching and they deserve the best!
Every single person I worked with throughout this process was completely committed to the effort. So was the community in general. For example, their biggest fundraiser of the year, the “All That Jazz” Dinner Dance, brought a little bit of New Orleans to El Campo and a whole lot of fun! There was a complete spread of N’awlins fixins’, a live band keeping people dancing until late into the night, silent and live auctions sponsored by dozens of local businesses, and several cash prizes awarded to attendees. Imagine my astonishment when I learned that the majority of party-goers were not even directly affiliated with the school and had come out simply to have fun and give back. (And give back, they did – the school raised close to $100,000 after everything was said and done!)
Yes, working with the St. Philip Catholic School has been a completely rewarding experience. In just a short time, the annual campaign we put together has raised nearly $30,000. In comparison to last year’s revenue of just $5,000, this is exciting to say the least. I have high hopes for next year and truly feel the sky’s the limit.
In reflecting upon all the hard work the school body and the community at large put in, I am most pleased with their inclusion of their students- even the youngest ones- in their fundraising efforts. Through booster club, student council, bake sales, and that incredible dinner dance, they enable their students to not just participate in and learn about fundraising but to take pride in their school and in their community. They saw first-hand just how much better things are when we all work together to put a little goodness in the world.