Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Change of Focus

The question keeps coming up as to why I’m doing this.  It’s not about me. The Paddle-to-the-Sea is merely the vehicle for raising funds for Save The Children.  Right now I’m paddling for Beck’s Fish Camp, of Cantonment, for in-kind support for the expedition, and for the Fairview, Oklahoma, Lion’s Club for their sponsorship for the first miles of the trip.  There’s an old saying that goes, ‘It takes a community to raise a child.’  That’s profoundly truer when the children are severely at risk.  The reason for doing this is to rally the community together for a common end---supporting the work of Save The Children to rescue and support children threatened by the effects of war, famine, disease, and natural disaster.  I’ll keep paddling as long as I’m working for anyone willing to join me in this worthy cause.  I’m occasionally asked if there’s anything I need.  While a shower and laundry are always great, especially in saltwater, but what I really need are sponsors for miles.  If a paddling club wants to join me, it would be great if they would also have members pass the hat at work, church, or among club members.  Being able to sponsor miles to benefit Save The Children gives me the impetus to keep moving.  Other Lion’s Clubs, Rotary, Kiwanis, businesses, churches, or individuals that can appreciate the importance of our goal can give a hand.

People get involved in things that impact them personally.  The greatest advocates for finding cures for disease, for example, are generally those who have lost family, especially children, to these ailments.  Likewise, people get involved if the project relates to them, such as a paddling project making most sense for those who love nature, the environment, and being on the water
For me, the thing that struck home was the unearthing of the four-month-old girl that had been buried alive in rubble for four days following the tsunami in Japan, where Save The Children is hard at work.  The realization was not just how narrowly she had escaped death, but that she had undoubtedly also lost her siblings, parents, perhaps grandparents---all the people that would normally see to getting her started in life. That’s where the community really needs to step in.  So, what I really need is for you to be part of that supporting community.  Donate $5 or more per mile to Save The Children, and I’ll keep paddling and helping kids in your name.  Just give Jean a call and tell her how many miles you’re sponsoring, and follow the instructions at the top-right of the blog page for submitting funds directly to Save The Children.  You CAN make a difference.  Thanks.  Jim

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