Thursday, March 29, 2012

Creative Fun Raises Funds

Carl Schmidt, owner of Fat Smitty's. Photo by ABC News.

I was on the internet the other day and saw a headline that read: “Diner peels $10K off the walls and donates to charity”. Well, of course, this caught my attention and I read further.

The story from Good Morning America detailed Fat Smitty’s diner, which is along Highway 101 in Washington State. It is known for its oversize burgers and the unusual way customers show appreciation. When a customer finishes a satisfying meal, they write their name on a dollar bill and tack it to the wall.

The owner of Fat Smitty’s had never taken the dollars down. The tradition started in 1985 and the next 27 years customers continued the tradition. It grew over the years until the walls were covered sometimes in several layers of bills. 

The owner, Carl Schmidt, was very humble and stated that he never thought the money belonged to him so he never took it down. When Carl was closing the diner for the season, he had the help of volunteers and some local Boy Scouts in taking down all of the money which totaled $10,316. Wow! How wonderful is that?

Since Carl felt the money wasn’t his, he is donating the money to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Camp Parson Boy Scout Camp to fund a new dining hall.

This story was so heartfelt and made me smile. It reminded me of the many unusual ways people raise money for Hope House. For example, Nick Swearingen hosts a head-shaving event every March that brought in over $11,000 this year!

And on April 15th, Mama Ray hosts her 17th annual Have a Heart Jazz & Blues Benefit at BB’s Lawn Side BBQ. That’s a full day of beer, BBQ and blues – what a fun, creative way to help us raise money.

You can visit our website for details and tickets for our upcoming events. If you have an idea for a new event, please contact Libby at or 816-257-9334. We would love to hear from you.

Friday, March 23, 2012

World Conference of Women's Shelters

President Clinton spoke at this year's World
Shelter Conference. NNEDV photo.
I had the fortunate opportunity to attend the 2nd annual World Conference of Women's Shelters in Washington, D.C. a couple of weeks ago. The event was hosted by the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV).

The experience was a mixture of emotions for me. I was amazed at the number of people in the room working to end violence against women. 1,500 men and women came from around the world to share stories and experiences and work for better solutions!

I felt an overwhelming sense of sadness at one point.  I realized just how massive this problem is and even with all of the efforts being made to stop it, it’s still happening. I wondered what it will take to finally bring an end to this devastating violence.

Unfortunately, I do not think the violence will end any time soon. This realization left me, for a moment, feeling somewhat defeated. Then I heard a story from a survivor and heard her triumph over obstacles so huge no one would think she could survive, but she did. 

She not only survived, she is thriving. She survived 4 gunshots at close range - one through her head - and she is living today to tell her inspiring story. With that I felt a renewed sense of hope and determination. We are making a difference.

We were then addressed by President Clinton. He encouraged us to keep fighting the fight, to keep doing what we are doing because people are depending on us. If we can’t be there for these victims, then who will? He said we were making a difference in the lives of women and children all around the world, and that women simply deserve the right to chart their own futures and live their lives.

With that, I felt energized and ready to come back to help all those impacted by domestic violence. There has been so much progress, and there will be more to come. We will bring an end to the violence. Thank you for helping me work towards that goal.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Res in Motus Award Nomination

I was pleasantly surprised to receive an email from Nancy Bruns, President of the Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce, letting me know that Hope House had been nominated by Tina Stidham for the 2012 Res in Motus (“Business In Motion”) Business of the Year Award. What an honor that we were recognized and nominated!

The award is a celebration of business and non-profit contributions to the community. There are several categories based on business size.

All nominees are asked to complete an application for consideration. The application process was somewhat intense and thought-provoking. It's good to look at our work through a different lens and have an opportunity to highlight our successes over the past years.

The process of picking the winners is somewhat involved, and just because we submitted an application doesn’t mean we will win. All the applicants will be recognized at a Chamber luncheon in March, and the top three finalists in each category will be announced. The winners are announced at a membership luncheon in May.

I will be keeping my fingers crossed that we are selected, but if not, that’s OK, too. We are honored to have been nominated and to be a part of the process.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Lee's Summit Bald Eagles: A Hair-razing Fundraiser

The 2012 Lee's Summit "Bald Eagles"
Not long ago I had the privilege of spending the day in Jefferson City talking with our elected officials about the needs of our clients, the impact domestic violence has had on our community, and what is happening at Hope House.

We are fortunate to have elected officials that are concerned about domestic violence. They are committed to addressing the issue and supporting measures that will bring about positive results for victims. Their goal, as well as ours, is to break the cycle and bring about an end to domestic violence.

I am so excited that three of them agreed to participate in this year’s
Hair-razing Fundraiser event that is sponsored by Nick Swearngin. Participants agree to have their head shaved by the highest bidder with the proceeds going to Hope House. Nick has organized this event for several years and is so excited that this year’s event is generating so much buzz.

The event will be held on Saturday, March 10
th with a silent auction beginning at 10AM and the actual head shaving starting at 2PM, after the Lee's Summit St. Patrick’s Day parade.  A group is planning to walk in the parade to generate excitement and awareness for the event.

We are thrilled to have 15 people agreeing to become “Bald Eagles” this year, including:
  • State Representatives Noel Torpey and Mike Cierpiot
  • House Minority Leader Mike Talboy
  • Jackson County Sheriff Mike Sharp
  • Event organizer Nick Swearngin
  • Hayden Torpey (Noel’s 10 year old son) 
  • Rick Roeber
  • Aaron Goff
  • Greenwood Chief of Police Robert Leslie
  • James Phillips
  • Scott Koller
  • Matt Keeling 
  • For the first time, three very courageous women with a very heartwarming story: Anna Huff, her 11 year old granddaughter, Taylor Scott, and Anna’s aunt, Peggy Martin.
We are so fortunate to have so many willing to support Hope House. Please visit the event’s Facebook page for more information.