FGP From the Inside: Week 4

From Sue Ann who is a board member and Lead Volunteer.  

I am not sure if I found Fairy Godmother Project, or if it found me. It all started a little over a year ago when I answered a request for donations to help a little girl's family. Andie and I met in the YMCA parking lot and the ripple effect began! I volunteer with the Fairy Godmother Project believing we should take care of each other. I have lived in a lot of places without family nearby to rely on for support. If not for friends and sometimes strangers stepping up, some seasons of my life would have been much more difficult.

I cannot personally repay everyone, so I pay it forward. I started out slow, pitching in where I could at events and organizing a fundraiser. Over the past few months, my role has expanded. I am now privileged to be the lead volunteer for a family. I keep them informed about resources available through Fairy Godmother Project, such as when their meals will be delivered. I have learned so much in the last year. My new circle of friends is one of the best parts of being a volunteer with Fairy Godmother Project!

Are you interested in paying it forward? If so, please email volunteer@fairygodmotherproject.org!

FGP From The Inside: Week 3

From Caroline, FGP's Meal Coordinator:
As my friend told me one day, "I'm drowning in drool and baby talk."  Ah yes, I remember those days.  Still today, so much of my life is about the kids and the family and making it all work.  I couldn't wait to start something that I could call my own - - not as "Adam's Mom" or "Rob's wife" but for me.
That's where Fairy Godmother (FGP) came into play.  I started nice and slow - - once a month, while I cooked dinner for my family, I just doubled the recipe and delivered it (with kids in the car) to one of the FGP families.  My concern about having to make "small talk" with a family I didn't know were eased when I learned all I had to do was leave the food in the cooler outside their home.  My kids would ask questions, and I would tell them that this family has a sick child who has lots of doctor visits so making dinner for them once in a while helped out the family.  They understood.... and they learned... and they cared... and it mattered... and it made me proud.
I have since expanded my role with Fairy Godmother Project and now coordinate the meal schedule between volunteers and FGP Families.  I LOVE IT!  I love that the volunteers are enthusiastic to help.  I love that the volunteers are committed to helping other families.  I love that volunteers make a difference whether they make a meal once a month or every week.  I love that volunteers share their experiences with their friends and ask them to volunteer once a month. 
While I secretly hope that someday there won't be a need for Fairy Godmother Project, until that time I look forward to contributing my time to this amazing organization!
Caroline's daughter made this at school this week. It says, "I have a dream to make dinners for people who have sick children."

 Would you like to do something that is just for you that will help a family with a child fighting cancer? Want to make a meal? Email Caroline at meals@fairygodmotherproject.org 

What's Happening?

Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'- Martin Luther King, jr.

Every Martin Luther King Day, I (Andie) start my morning reading over his quotes, thinking about the meaning in my life and ways I can teach my children about MLK. I always try to focus on who he was and what he stood for in his short life. This morning, the above quote caught my eye and made me think of the value of what FGP is doing for those in the pediatric cancer community.  Because I am doing weekly, "What's Happening" posts, this seemed an appropriate quote to use this morning.  Here is this week's answer to MLK's question:

1.  Gas cards for families were picked up from our amazing donor!

2. We met with teachers from Stafford's  Learn and Serve about the upcoming fundraising event being planned by their students for us! More details to follow but get ready for a Medieval Festival in May! Thank you, Rachel and Ashley:) and all the amazing Learn and Serve kids!
3. We have six new volunteer applicants.

4. As always, lots of meals were made:)

5.We had a few purchases from our 2 fundraisers but would love to see more. We have the bags from Thirty-One Fundraiser and the charms from Nomades

6.  We held our first board meeting last night and it was a huge success. We have AMAZING people on board!! (I could list all the decisions made, but you might get bored)!

7. We voted on a winner for our newsletter and chose Godmother Gazette!

8. We completed all content for our first ever Godmother Gazette which will be delivered to your inbox on February 1st!

9. Plans were made for a Qdoba Spirit Night on the 20th of February. 

Have a great week!!!

If you are interested in doing for others, please email info@fairygodmotherproject.org for more information.

FGP From the Inside: Week 2

 FGP Photography Program: More than just Kodak paper

I love my job as a photographer for two reasons:  the moments I spend with families and the impact the portraits have on them.  Some clients I only see once, others I see annually as their family photographer.  Either way, they leave an imprint on me.  As a Fairy Godmother Project photographer, this experience is even more profound.  When I do a session with a family who is battling pediatric cancer, I get a glimpse into their family during a challenging time.  I see laughter, bonds, worry, silliness, hope, love.  The underlying knowledge we share as we stroll around a park together is that we are taking these pictures with a new appreciation.  These moments are more precious than ever before, no matter what kind of cancer they battle or what the diagnosis, the world looks different now and every minute is more important.  I'm so thankful for the time that I spend with them, walking next to them and wanting to do something to brighten their day.

The gift of portraits is priceless.  We are all "too busy" to get portraits done, we try to fit it in occasionally as our kids grow, but it often slips through the cracks.  Add doctor's appointments, chemo, exhaustion, and photos become a lower priority.  Some of the FGP families have never had portraits done.  It was on their "to do" list and then cancer took over their lives.  When a family receives their portraits and says that they have looked at them over and over in awe, that we have given them an unbelievable gift they will always cherish, it is an amazing and humbling feeling.  For me it's been something I can do when I'm struggling with that "what can I do to help" feeling and it's been an amazing experience that has changed me and enriched my life.

If you are interested in volunteering your photography services, helping fund this program, or if you know a family who could benefit, please email us at photos@fairygodmotherproject.org for more information! 

A Volunteer's Perspective

Words from our volunteer, Mandy:

One of my greatest fears is of something happening to one of my boys. I am quite certain that watching my own child battle something as horrible as cancer, and not having any power to make it better, would knock me to my knees quicker than anything else I can think of. I don't claim to know what the parents of pediatric patients go through, but I would imagine that on my knees-unless it is to pray- would not be where that sweet child would need me during such a time in his life. I believe he would need every bit of what I had to give during every single day of that fight. I think that I would probably have less to  give than on others, but my child, and the rest of my family, would still need me just as much.

Those thoughts are what brought me to Fairy Godmother Project initially, and the desire to help and encourage the families during such a hard time in their lives is why I keep cooking for them.  My hope is that by making and delivering a meal, I can reduce some of the strain on the families we serve.  I hope that by allowing them not to worry about dinner even just one night a week, I can help make that day one where those precious parents have just a little bit more to give to each other and to their kids.  I may never meet any of the FGP families, but I hope that when the food shows up at their door they will feel encouraged and cared about, because they are.

Interested in reducing the strain on these families? Email info@fairygodmotherproject.org

What's Happening?

The last few days were busy ones behind the scenes at FGP. Here is what is going on in addition to the cleanings, meals and lawn care:

1. Date night at the amazing Foode  for one of the couples in our FGP community! The couple was able to get out and have a night on the town to reconnect. When asked how it was, the mom said, "Amazing. Thank you for everything. I'm definitely going to be a regular."
2. One of the mamas got  her hair done by our helpful and talented stylist, Alis who works at Bangz.
3. The amazing and generous, Diana Keller of Sage Letterpress spent the weekend working on business cards and is ready and eager to work on some marketing materials for us! 
4. Design is underway of our first ever e-newsletter thanks to Stephanie's oldest!
5. Content for the newsletter is being developed.
6.We are running a contest on FB and here to name our e-newsletter. Whoever comes up with the winning name will get a $10  restaurant.com gift card.  If you aren't on FB, feel free to post your idea here for consideration under comments.
7. Two fundraisers are on right now for FGP! One is a Thirty-One Fundraiser (you know those great bags with cool patterns) and a Nomades Charm Fundraiser(the charms designed for the military families)!
8. A very exciting fundraiser is planned for the month of February! We can't tell just yet what it is because we don't want to ruin the surprise, but if you are a reader, you will love it!
9. Our check for $4,000 made its way to the family from our fundraiser in December.
10. Parent support meetings are being scheduled in our area. Thanks to Amy of Amy's Cafe  for her offer of her restaurant. 
11. Laura, the woman who is heading up the Richmond chapter is representing FGP today at a meeting with Childhood Cancer Community Consortium. 

Thanks to everyone involved in making any and all of the above happen! 
Want to volunteer? Send an email to info@fairygodmotherproject.org

FGP from the Inside: Week 1

In an attempt to spread the word about FGP and pediatric cancer, it has been suggested that we write more on our blog. So here it goes.....

Andie's Perspective

My thoughts have been pulled to what has been accomplished in the last few months since FGP got going. I am so proud of all of it: the support from the community, the volunteers we have recruited and maintained but the thing that stands out most for me is how my life has been enriched by FGP. It was obvious to me in the beginning that it would feel good to help others and that I would be setting a positive example for my children about what it means to give back especially to those in crisis. But it is the things I didn't expect to get out of it; it is the relationships that have developed over the last few months, the things I have learned about myself and the things I have learned from others that are most pronounced. I always go back to when we were interviewed for the Free Lance Star article, she asked me what it was like to be the Fairy Godmother to all these children. And I realized that we aren't; we are the Fairy Godmothers to the parents so that they can be less stressed in a very emotional, stressful situation which helps the family as a whole.

The Moms

As FGP started, I took the role of lead volunteer or family liaison (still haven't picked what to call it) for our families.  That means  that I am the go between for the families. I send the moms weekly emails with when meals will arrive, when/if the lawn or house will be done, reminders about the available resources like hair cuts, nights out and so on. I also check on them whether via phone, text, visit or email just as a reminder that FGP is here and that we care.

As FGP grows, my husband helps me make lists of what I do and then check what I can delegate. One day he suggested I delegate one of my four families to someone else. I tried to consider it, but I couldn't. And then I tried explaining to him why it wasn't an option, but I couldn't put it into words because of the lump in my throat. These moms, who are my primary contacts, have become my friends.  I am sure there is some line I have crossed in some world where I am becoming "too involved" but I don't know how to do it any other way nor do I want to. I cherish the relationships I have established with these women. And how could I not? I have sat with one while she told one of her children over the phone that her sibling's cancer has spread, I have spent hours in the car with one mom learning about her pre-kid life, I've listened to plans for another baby and so much more. And through all of that and everything they are going through, each of them asks me about me, my kids and my life.

Not too long ago, one of our families decided that we should focus our efforts on another family that had a new diagnosis for fear FGP didn't have enough resources to do it all. The mom emailed me to say just that and I cried and then I composed myself and wrote them an email pretty much begging them to let us continue helping. And I don't use the term begging lightly (maybe I wasn't so composed). I explained that at this point they were stuck with me and therefore FGP because we are invested in them and committed to seeing them through this horrible thing called pediatric cancer. And we ARE very, very INVESTED.

If you are interested in getting involved in FGP, please email us at info@fairygodmotherproject.org for more information! You won't be disappointed.

2011 in Review

Last year when 2011 hit, Fairy Godmother Project was just a little idea inspired by an amazing little girl named Evy. Now on the first day of 2012, we are taking a look back with awe at how the idea grew!

What did FGP accomplish in 2011?
  • Provided cleaning and/or meals to 5 families in Fredericksburg area, 2 in NoVA
  • Sent care packages and gift cards to 2 families in Richmond area
  • Logged thousands of volunteer hours (still waiting on total- go here to log yours!)
  • Did 9 photo sessions
  • Recruited 65 volunteers for family services program and 14 for photography program
  • Held 4 volunteer trainings (just since August)
  • Was Featured on the Front Page of the paper!
  • Developed partnerships with local businesses including Foode, J.Brian's, Merry Maids (540 898 3636) and GrassRoots (Cathy Lyon 540-361-1572), Moms of Fredericksburg
  • Became a program of Journey 4 A Cure
  • Attended Stafford County Public Schools' Learn and Serve Community Fair
  • Developed a board to assist in decision making (will be introducing board members over next few weeks)
  • Raised thousands of dollars for a local family
  • Was the beneficiary of a holiday party that raised $1500 in gift cards for families
  • Started the planning for DC and Richmond chapters
  • Gave families 1200 in gift cards
  • Connected families for gift giving

2012 is here and we are filled with hope that this little idea will
continue to grow and make a difference in the lives of families undergoing pediatric cancer treatment. We hope that we can continue to take away some stress of the families we help through meals, cleaning and support. FGP is constantly growing and changing based on the needs of families and the resources we have.

We have no idea what this year will bring, but are hopeful that on January 1,2013, we will have the same sense of wonder, pride and awe at all FGP has done and accomplished.

Thanks for your support in 2011!