The Year So Far…

Well, actually we haven’t even mentioned our Christmas Party with the kids in December 2011 yet! Not only were there cookies and hot chocolate (with whipped cream, sprinkles and all the fixin’s) but we made arrangements to bring Santa, presents, and a horse-drawn carriage to take everyone around the grounds of the children’s home. This is the second year we’ve brought Christmas to the kids in this way. We believe rather than just giving the home a donation, a unique experience and the opportunity to interact with caring and positive adults is a far more valuable Christmas present. We hope to continue the tradition next year with your help.

-The Birthday Program has continued to be a favorite amongst both the kids and the charity. We can always count on a lovely Sunday afternoon hanging out with these great kids. Pizza parties and Mr. Gatti’s Game Room make us all feel like kids, and taking the kids on a $100 shopping spree afterwards is always a joy to facilitate.

St. Joe’s always tells us that we are one of the few things these kids can count on, outside of the Home, that is consistent and positive and we’re humbled and honored to help. It’s often that we hear about a kid who’s new at the home and he or she can’t wait to meet “the guys who take us out for our birthday party.” We hope to keep this going for a long long time. the kids most certainly deserve it.

-Annually, St. Joe’s hosts a volunteer appreciation dinner to which we are invited. It is a fun evening particularly because the kids who we get to spend great times with actually help prepare the dinner, as well as act as the “wait staff.” But the best part is when they put those roles aside, sit at the table and eat with us and share a great meal. This year we had the treat of sitting with a couple of outstanding kids (who had us in stitches) along with another inspiring community volunteer. We can’t wait for next year!

-The St. Joe’s Picnic in August is of course, a huge day for the home, and as usual, we spend a lot of our energy soliciting donations to help stock not just our booth (The Duckpond!), but other booths as well. We are one of the few organizations actually soliciting donations so as to require no up-front investment from the home. Any money brought in from our prizes at the picnic will be 100% profit for St. Joe’s.

This year we have been incredibly fortunate to have all of the regional Dollar Tree stores collecting throughout the summer on our behalf. With the incredible amount of inventory they have given us, we are guaranteed not to have to spend any of our, nor St. Joe’s money on inventory for the Picnic for this year and beyond.

Vicki Webster, manager of the Westport Road Dollar Tree and a longtime friend of Starduck Charities, is chiefly responsible for this relationship, and for that we are eternally grateful.

-Unquestionably, the single most fun any of our board members have had this year was the day in May when we took the kids from St. Joe’s to Lazer Blaze on Shelbyville Road. It’s safe to say the kids would say the same thing. Together, we played three 20-minute sessions of laser tag and had an absolute blast. Girls and boys from 5-15 were running around with us 30-somethings in the labyrinth wearing our target vests and carrying lasers. But along with that hardware, everyone was brandishing an enormous smile. High fives and congratulatory backslaps were the order of the day! We can’t wait to go back – and we owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the management and staff at Lazer Blaze. Their generosity was staggering.