This post is long overdue. Thank you cards were mailed out shortly after our Summer Fundraising Gala, but I never publicly expressed my gratitude to everyone involved in making it such a success. As I reflect during this season of thanksgiving, my heart swells with so much thankfulness.
That June evening, we had so much fun! We mingled, ate, danced, played, and built a deeper community. My entire family even came to town for the event!
But, so much went on behind the scenes, I have to reflect on all the small miracles that happened.
Did you know that our caterer donated all of the appetizers that night? He had an event that canceled at the last moment, and he generously used the ingredients he had already purchased for our event instead at no extra charge. That was a very YUMMY blessing.
Another blessing was our venue, Shady Elms Farm. The family that owns Shady Elms donated a Thursday evening at their beautiful event space in Hickory, PA for our use. It is a really long story on how we connected (you can read all about it here), but I’m so happy a friendship was forged in the midst of a tough situation.
Shady Elms is an amazing event venue that I just can’t recommend enough. The amount of money raised skyrocketed because of the use of a free venue. It was such a classy location for a perfect evening.
With the basics covered, what more could you ask for? Well, the blessings continued! One of our parents volunteered her dad as the event DJ! He runs a professional DJ business, and he was willing to DJ our event for free. He had all the equipment and did a great job on the playlist! Even though not everyone wanted to dance the night away, I know I had fun on the dance floor! (Okay, if you were there, stop laughing; I have great dance moves!)
Finally, it was all the other little behind-the-scenes things that just made the night amazing.
Parents came to help decorate, and I am especially grateful to one parent who had an artistic vision for the decor. Everything looked so beautiful.
The gala parent committee also coordinated table sponsorships and gift basket donations, which raised much-needed extra funds.
More parents graciously stayed after the party was over and helped clean up.
Also, a huge shout out to sooooo many people who bought tickets, invited friends, and had a lovely evening out.
So the big question is, of course, how much money did the schoolhouse raise? Well, when it was all said and done, we walked away with $14,000 raised. To some, that is small potatoes, but to us, it was amazing. Like, life-changing amazing.
That money allowed us to fund scholarships for 22 students, hire three more teachers and expand to two new locations in western PA plus another classroom at our main campus. The funds also helped train these teachers, outfitted three new classrooms with materials, bought classroom sets of curriculum, funded a summer staff training day, and paid additional support staff.
A Big Goal
When I began the schoolhouse, I never wanted money to be the reason why a child could not attend. I
Back in January of this year, I told our board that I had a goal to raise $20,000 this year. That seemed like such a big number at the time. We had never raised any funds before, and we desperately did not want to raise tuition on our families.
So, where do we stand as of the end of 2022? We raised $14,000 from the gala plus another $3,500 in donations. People, we are so close to this crazy goal. What can you do?
Well, it is the season of giving, right? Maybe you need one more tax deduction before the year is out? Or maybe you’ve followed us for a while and want to see the schoolhouse model continue to spread. Financial support is a great way to do just that.
Giving Tuesday 2022 is an excellent opportunity to help us reach our $20,000 goal and continue to serve western PA families with this innovative and flexible education model. To donate, use the donation button on our website.
A Personal Note
When I began the schoolhouse, I never wanted money to be the reason why a child could not attend. I understand money being tight. I have four children of my own, and any amount of money times four is a lot of money.
So, let me give you a glimpse into some of the stories I hold in my heart from families that were blessed by the schoolhouse and your support:
- A mom cried on the phone as she told me about her child who had been in both public and private school. This sweet child had been put back a grade due to some reading difficulties. She experienced teasing and a difficult classroom environment. She is now safe with us, learning on the level she needs and getting additional reading support.
- Another mom related how she feels she has finally got her teenagers back. Her kids are back from depression, back from anxiety, and back from the turmoil of the world. They have their brightness back. And I am so happy to report that these kids are GIVING back to the younger kids around them.
- I sat at an end-of-the-year conference with a mom. She was so nervous because people were telling her that her child was going to fail. Everyone was telling her that this wonderful kid could not focus enough to succeed. He was behind, they said. He was going to fail, they said. I said, he will be fine. As a matter of fact, he will be great. You know what, he is! I could not ask for a kid with a bigger heart, doing amazing things, and thriving.
I could go on with so many more stories. They would pull on all your heartstrings. Students that left bullies behind, kids that are working years above grade level (because they can!), field trips where our students stun our guides with their knowledge on various subject matters, kids that have time to pursue their passions, athletes that have time to train, families that can travel, and a community that pulls together, not apart.
So, what can you do to help this important work continue?
- Save the date for June 29, 2023 for our next summer gala. Maybe you’d be interested in becoming a table sponsor or attendee. Even donating a basket for the event would be a huge help!
- Think about sharing your Giving Tuesday funds with A One-Room Schoolhouse.
- If you are a teacher, homeschool mom, or education professional looking for a way to use your skills to benefit your community, apply here to be a schoolhouse classroom director. We are very interested in candidates from the east side of Pittsburgh, south of Washington, and possibly the airport area/Beaver county.