As part of therfundraising efforts for the charity Boys Town, Jason and I offered a package where we would teach kids to fence as one of five items for people to bid on in a live auction at their annual gala. Our item had the lowest starting bid on paper at $500 dollars and we were a bit worried about how we would sell up against the other things. (Swimming in the pool with Michael Phelps was one of them!)
For the auction, they brought us up on stage and I felt so nervous staring out at the crowd as the bidding began. Someone yelled out “$1000” and then I breathed a sigh of relief that we were at least going to sell! Then something I didn’t expect happened, the price kept rising! People shouted out, “$2500″ then “$5000″ up and up it went!
The final bid went to Kathy Guarino for $10,000 dollars! Even more amazing is that her enthusiasm inspired another gala goer, Dave Schaefer, to match her gift! Our package ended up bringing in $20,000 dollars! (Michael Phelps brought in only $10,000! We doubled Phelps!)
We couldn’t have been happier to help out such an amazing organization and Mrs. Guarino and Mr. Schaefer have our full respect for putting up so much money despite the economy. So many children are going to be helped as a result of their donations.
The organization, founded by Father Flanagan in 1917 to help some of our country’s most disadvantaged children. More than 90 years later the organization helps more than 50,000 abused, abandoned and neglected boys and girls a year. Two of the children, Maureen and Ricardo, took the stage and shared their inspirational stories. Both faced struggles including serving time in jail, being abused and dropping out of school. With the help of Boys Town, they are now back on track and also becoming role models for their fellow children in the Boys Town family.
I always try to think about myself facing those circumstances and wonder if I would have made it out or been able to achieve what I have without the support I had in my life? It’s one of those thoughts that puts life in perspective because I don’t know if I would have won an Olympic medal or had as much success as I’ve had facing the odds that they faced. By the time they were done speaking, I was in tears. Needless to say, the kids were truly the heroes of the night!
Also in attendance were singers Chrisette Michele, Dawn Richard and Karina Pasian.