A Community Coming Together…

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Come on people now

Smile on your brother

Everybody get together

Try to love one another

Right now

~The Youngbloods “Get Together”

I met a woman named Teresa back in April when we both attended a camp in northern Minnesota.  Neither of us knew the other was going and the only interaction we had with each other prior to going to camp was by phone or email… and it had nothing to do with the camp.

Let’s dial back to this past Spring… when I was reaching out to local businesses to promote participation in my “Toast to the TaTa’s” fundraising event (as part of my Susan G. Komen‘s local Race For The Cure team’s fundraiser).  I was working with the local business owners in the downtown area of my community to solicit their help in hosting a Girls Night Out and it just so happened that Teresa was one of those local business owners that I had been reaching out to.

It is important to know that Teresa and I had never seen each other’s face…

In April of this year,  I was drawn to volunteer at Hearts of Hope camp in Minnesota that is part of the Children’s Grief Connection, a weekend-long camp for school-age children dealing with the grief associated with the death of someone close to them.  While volunteering at this camp (which is three hours north of where I live),  I met a young man named Derek… which led me to meeting his mom… Teresa… yes,  the very same Teresa who I had been emailing and talking to in the weeks preceding the camp as one of the business owners in my community.

Things definitely happen for a reason…

Teresa was at camp with her son because her husband had died approximately ten years earlier when her boys were young.  Her son Derek wanted to go again because of the emotional support that he receives from the other campers and camp volunteers. I also believe that what he gains is also in direct correlation to what he gives… he is a great support to new campers… to witness this high school aged kid sprawling down on his belly on the floor to get eye to eye with a sobbing child was life-changing for me… he knows the pain of raw grief and his innate ability to reach out and comfort with just his presence is incredible…

After my first stint as the camp nurse, I was hooked… I decided that not only would I volunteer at every camp possible in the future but I also wanted to raise awareness and funds to help this incredible organization in their quest to contribute something so valuable to grieving families…, so Teresa and I became partners in our community to put on a fundraiser for The Children’s Grief Connection and this past Friday night was our first event.

Teresa’s bar was jam packed with raffle auction donations, our local Lion’s Club donated a large sum of money to help us buy a grand prize for the auction, a wonderful woman by the name of Laurie Wondra shared her gift as a spiritual (psychic) medium giving messages of hope and healing, one of the camp volunteers and her band donated a night of rock and roll and it felt like our whole community came together in every way to make this a huge success.  Numerous people volunteered their time, talents and treasures and it was AMAZING… literally bringing tears to our eyes more than once during the evening!

As I reflect on the memories of such an incredible night,  I started to think about what a blessing it is to live in a community where people truly care…

So what is a community?  A few synonyms that I pulled up from Thesaurus.com include:

  • Association: Teresa and I came together because of an association with our community which led us to create a greater association through Camp Hope and our local Toast To The TaTas… 
  • People: it was the people involved who made this a huge success. The business owners who donated goods,  the local Lion’s group and their mission to support those in need,  the volunteers who gave up their personal time to help us get this off of the ground (and kept it all flowing smoothly the day of the event), and the volunteers from Hearts of Hope who came to support us emotionally and be ambassadors for the organization.
  • Commonality:  We all came together for a commonality of purpose – to make a difference in the lives of grieving children and their families.

However,  the best definition I have of the word Community is comprised of two words: Teresa Hoffman…  a woman who gives her heart and soul (and resources) to support individuals, families, friends and non-profit organizations without ever asking for anything in return…

I am honored to be able to call her my friend…

Now it is onward to the next item on my “to do” list… camp nurse at Camp Hope in two weeks and begin planning for our next community event… our party in pink… Girl’s Night Out:  Toast to the TaTas!

If you had one word to describe “community” what would it be?

2 thoughts on “A Community Coming Together…

  1. Pat thank you, I am so glad to have you in my life. You are a blessing. I loved working with you. Pat I am glad to call you my friend too. It was meant for us to meet. You are a giver and love doing what you do and you are good at it. The world is a better place with you in it.

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