Friday, April 29, 2011


This is going to be a short blog, I just got home a few minutes ago and was going to head bed, but I wanted to write about volunteering. I volunteered at a charity fundraiser tonight at the House of Blues to benefit the homeless in Boston. This was the 3rd year that I volunteered at this event, it is an awesome event. The reason that I'm writing about is that they treat the volunteers so well- they are a role model of how to engage volunteers who are helping at events. I hope that people who volunteers at Project Smile feel the same way after they help at our events. I arrived at the event and was at first a little unsure about what to do, I found the woman who was coordinating everything and even though she was running around with a million things to do- she was so pleasant, had such a positive attitude and really seemed to care about the people who were volunteering. She mentioned the different volunteering tasks, I immediately wanted to help sell raffle tickets- I like meeting people and chatting, so I thought that would be a job that I would be good at. She was very clear with her instructions and also made sure to tell us a few times to make sure that we enjoyed the event as well, eat some food, etc. I worked with a girl who had actually volunteered at our date auction last year! It went really well, we sold a ton of raffle tickets and we got to enjoy the event as well. I was so appreciative of how nice the woman was who was coordinating everything. I know how hard it is to run events, how everyone comes at you with every possible question/need and you have to keep it all calm and collected. It felt great to feel welcomed as a helper. I try to do the same with my Project Smile volunteers, I always thank them for coming and let them know how much I appreciate them. I want them to feel as included as possible. I also believe in letting people choose their volunteer tasks. People have certain skills and I believe in letting people do what they are good at. Of course, once certain tasks are filled, not everyone gets to choose what they want to do, but I try to give people choice as much as possible. The only thing is that not all of my volunteers at the date auction get to enjoy the event, particularly the ones that are working up front.

I have volunteered at other charity events where they don't make the volunteers feel particularly welcome and it hasn't been an enjoyable experience at all. It is hard when you're planning big events and I know that sometimes volunteer handling can slip, but it really makes such a difference when you engage volunteers and make them feel appreciated. I had a wonderful time tonight, I felt that I did a task that suited my skills, we sold a lot of raffle tickets and I got to enjoy a terrific event that hopefully raised a lot of money for an important cause.

I had my networking lunch today for the DWC Metro West chapter that I run, that went well, except I was 20 minutes late. I left my cell phone behind and had to go back to pick it up. I went to Braintree after to pick up all our auction items for the silent auction at Wine Fest on Saturday. We have some awesome items. Tomorrow, I need to do the bid sheets. I got to Boston early and spent some time in a coffee shop in Cambridge, catching up on emails and following up with people that I met last night at the networking event.

Well friends, that's it for tonight. I'm going eat my grapefruit- I was quite happy that I found one last grapefruit in the fridge! Until next time...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wednesday Happenings

I can't believe April is coming to an end, it seems like just yesterday I was writing about the beginning of April. I have to start working on getting sponsors lined up for our 2012 calendar. I also need to pick up the pace on getting sponsors for the date auction. I was at a networking event tonight in Boston to work on finding sponsors. I met some people who expressed interest about being involved. I have to follow up with them in the morning. The hard part is that a lot of times people will say that they want to be involved, then you send the info and try to follow up and never hear anything- that part is rather frustrating. I think our event is an awesome fit for everyone that I've approached, I just need them to feel the same way too! At tonight's event, someone mentioned that old phrase: "if you do what you love, you never work a day in your life." I've never believed that. I love what I do, but I work very hard to get results. I think that most people who love what they do still have to work hard at it. Being successful doesn't come easy. It is the result of a lot of patience, hard work and determination. It is important to love what you do, but that doesn't mean it won't be hard work.

In other news: I mailed the grant that I was working on the other day. It always is such a good feeling when I march that yellow envelope into the post office and send it away- a feeling of satisfaction and happy anticipation of the good news that may come. I haven't started work on the other grants yet. I was also working on following up with a lot of police departments that I hadn't followed up with in a while. I didn't get through to anyone today, it seems a lot of people are away on vacation this week.

Well friends, I think that's it for tonight. I was going to work on emails, but I'm really tired and going to sleep. I still haven't solved my email issue, but I did get to sleep earlier last night and felt better this morning. I'm heading to bed earlier tonight too. I have a networking lunch tomorrow, then I have to head over to Braintree to pick up auction items for the silent auction that we're doing at WineFest on Saturday. I think I'll have some yogurt and strawberries before I go to sleep. Until tomorrow friends...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Mellow Monday

Was this really a mellow Monday? I'm not sure about that one. I wrote my list last night, but this morning I was not feeling particularly inspired to follow my list. One of the items was work on getting date auction sponsors. I started to research more potential sponsors, but after a relatively brief time, I stopped. I wasn't in the mood to work on getting sponsors. Now, if I waited until I was in the mood before I started anything, I don't think I would get very far beyond drinking tea and checking my email in the morning on most days! But some times, I think that if you're really not into a certain task and it isn't urgent that it gets worked on right at that moment, it is totally OK to stop working on that and do something else. So, I put the sponsor hunt aside and switched to grant writing. I immediately started to feel better after I changed tasks- I relaxed and focused on the grant. This is a very straight forward grant and I got a lot done. It is technically finished, but I'm at my "sitting with it" phase- I stare at the grant for an inordinate amount of time, making sure everything is all set. There is another grant that I want to work on as soon as this one is sent in. Actually, there are a lot of grants that I need to work on, I need to really devote more time to that.

I also worked on contacting police departments to make follow up donations. I didn't contact anymore new departments today since there are a lot of departments that I haven't checked-in with for a while. I also left a message with DCF to schedule another drop off with them. I didn't get through to actually speak to anyone today. I'm going to keep making more calls tomorrow.

Well, that's the latest for tonight. I'm off to bed. I'm already well past my bedtime, it is 1:15am. I really need to work on getting to bed early, along with responding to certain emails in a more timely manner- two things that I don't seem to be improving on. I'll never be a morning person, but I need to tame the night owl! I'm also off to eat some more Easter candy- ah, jellybeans! Until tomorrow friends...

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Good news today- the Boston Firefighters Association is back on board to help us recruit single fire fighters for the date auction. The Association is a huge help in getting fire fighters involved, so it means a lot to have their support again. We are one step closer to pulling our event together and I'm relieved. The fire fighters always do really well at the date auction, so it is important that we have a good turnout of single fire fighters participating.

I went to a networking event in Boston last night and met two women that worked for a local travel media company. They were really excited about the date auction, I emailed the info to them this morning and they are going to work on getting their company involved by sending a group of volunteers and recruiting some of the employees to be auctioned off.

I hosted a Shoe Club event tonight in Boston and met a woman who works for a company that I had been trying for a couple of years to get involved with the date auction as a sponsor. I was telling her about the event and she said she would help get the info to the right person. It would be a great fit for this company, so I hope it works out this time. We still have a ways to go with event sponsorship- that is one of my major goals.

Yesterday, we did another donation to Brockton Police of coloring books/crayons and reading books. The Captain that I met was telling me about the grants that Brockton received to help follow up with children who have been involved in abuse situations, witnessed crime or victims of other crimes. The police visit the family along with a social worker or sometimes a clergy person and meet with the child and parents to see how the child is doing and find ways to help. It sounds like such a great program and can help make a difference. It's a shame that every large department isn't able to have this same program.

Well, that's the latest for tonight. I'm off to eat clementines, write my list and read- I just started a wonderful book that my sister recommended, Little Bee. I had to put Cold Mountain back on the shelf after this book came in at the library. I've only read about 35 pages, but I'm definitely recommending it to others! Until next time friends...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Latest and Greatest

So what's happening? Well, I received a nice surprise on Friday. I had contact a large local auto dealership, Imperial Auto, about sponsoring our Anniversary Celebration. They had donated in the past and last year, they supported at the $250 level. I went to the post office on Friday and there was an envelope from Imperial- it looked like it contained a check. As I opened, I kept hoping that they decided to increase their sponsorship this year. Now keep in mind, our highest sponsorship level for this event is $550. I opened the envelope and there was a check for $1,000! How often does it happen that you ask for a certain amount and receive almost double? Practically never. I was so happy. One of our sponsors can only do half what they contributed last year, so this more than makes up for the difference. It is great when you get good news that you don't expect. Today, I received another unexpected $200 donation from an organization as well. The revenue has been slow lately, so it is good that we are getting some more donations in recently.

Today, I donated to the Ware Police and Fire departments. We had donated to the fire department a couple of years ago, but the donation to the Ware Police department was our first. That donation marked our 163rd department that we have donated items to. I needed to buy some more coloring books and it worked out well because there was a Family Dollar right in Ware. I cleaned out their supply of 2 for $1 coloring books. The cashiers always ask what the coloring books are for- it is a little unusual to see one woman buying 50 coloring books at a time!

Well, this is going to be a short blog- I'm really tired and I'm going to write my list and go to sleep. I wanted to read for a bit, I was going to start reading Cold Mountain, but my eyes are hurting. There is so much that I want to work on tomorrow, I need to be energetic. I keep trying to go to bed earlier, but so far, it isn't working very well. Until tomorrow friends...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wednesday Happenings

So what's new? Well, I don't have anything earth shattering exciting to report. The last two days have been pretty quiet and steady. I submitted the web updates for our anniversary event section, including a list of some of the new auction items that we have. I want to change the anniversary event section and make it more visually appealing. There are other changes that I would like to do to our site, but I need to time things. We get an hour of update time included with our website cost per monthly, it does get costly when you have start making significant changes. I don't have a page on there about our homeless shelter donations and would like to have that.

I made a lot of calls to central MA police/fire departments about donations. On Tuesday, we're donating again to the Ware police and fire departments. I'm going to call more departments in that area again so that we can do some more donations while we are in the area.

I also did our April newsletter today. Our web host has it now, so it will probably go out tomorrow. I haven't done a newsletter since January which isn't good at all. My goal is to do a newsletter every month, which is what I used to do- I don't know why I've slipped over the last year and only send them out periodically.

Well, I think that's it for tonight. I know this wasn't the most fascinating of posts, but I'm getting tired. I'm off to write my list, possibly eat a grapefruit, then bed. Until tomorrow friends..

Monday, April 11, 2011

Happy Anniversary!

Friday, April 8, was the 7th anniversary of Project Smile's official incorporation as a non profit organization. The day also happens to be my brother's birthday. I started Project Smile in October of the year before- which is why we are celebrating our 8th Anniversary this fall and why our special event is in October. But it was on my brother's birthday that we came official.

I have good news to report- we have a guest speaker for our 8th Anniversary Celebration! It will be Steve Aveson, the new morning news anchor for NECN. Yes- we are still on the news anchor/reporter theme for guest speakers. They do a really good job, are reliable and I think they are some one that our guests enjoy listening to. I'm happy that he is on board and we are now all set with that. I'm going to submit our website updates tomorrow so we can get that on our site.

I did a follow up donation of stuffed animals, coloring books/crayons and reading books the the South Middlesex Opportunity Council in Framingham- they provide services for the family homeless shelters throughout the Metro West area and they and other services for families in need. Can you imagine that there are 3,000 children living in shelters in our state? That is such a shocking number. There are 1,000 families living in motels while waiting to be placed in shelters. We are going to be doing donations to SMOC every few months so we can keep expanding our efforts to help kids living in shelters. When I did our donation today, I was talking with Susan- my contact person at SMOC- about the number of families in shelters and we were also talking about the poverty that exists in the towns that used to have strong manufacturing base. Tomorrow, I want to contact some of the smaller towns out in the western part of the state so we can donate to their police/fire departments and shelters. It has been a while since we've donated to any of the towns west of Worcester.

So that's the latest friends- well, there is more to report, but I'm trying to get to bed early so I can have a good start tomorrow morning. Along with contacting those police/fire departments, I want to follow up with some of the other departments that we are already working with and I also need to work on some grants tomorrow and getting more sponsors for the date auction and anniversary event. So, I'm off to write my list, not eat anymore because I already enjoyed crackers, cheese and grapes while watching Bethenny Ever After- and head to bed. Until tomorrow friends..

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Busy Day

Before I get started, can I just say- silent auctions are so much fun! The Women's Success Network- the group that I joined in January, had their annual silent auction & fashion show fundraiser tonight and the auction was terrific. Obviously, I've been to other auctions before, but those ones usually have higher price items that I can't even afford to start bidding on. This auction was great because they had a wide range of items, many of which were affordable. I got outbid on every item, but that was fine- at least I felt like I participated and it was fun. I started the bidding on a lot of items because I now how stressful it is when you run an auction and you wait for people to start bidding- I knew I was going to get out bid, but I wanted to get it going. They had great items. It is a really fun social activity too because you get to talk to people about the items- it really encourages participation. Now, I love my own auction of course because I work so hard to get all the items and because the event is so big for us, but I never get to enjoy the auction as a spectator- it is such a different feeling. This event made me even more excited for our own Anniversary Celebration in October and even more motivated to get auction items and reach out to new donors. Of course, we need to get a good crowd there to bid!

I was modeling CAbi clothes in the fashion show which was a lot of fun. I love participating in events, I feel like I'm getting to know some of the women in the networking group better after being a part of the show. It is always fun to strut down a catwalk in cute clothes too!

It was a busy day- I had our networking lunch at Bertucci's in Framingham earlier. I've been trying to mix up the lunch locations so we can keep things interesting and fresh. The lunch went well, we had some new members attend which is always good. After the lunch, I jetted over to Boston and donated stuffed animals, books, coloring books/crayons and toys to two homeless shelters. We donated to both shelters last year as well. Then I stopped at Family Dollar in Planville on my way to the WSN event and raided their supply of coloring books. I need them for our shelter donation in Framingham on Monday. I was happy because I felt like I was very efficient this afternoon. I was also really happy today because I was feeling a lot better- the headaches and general tired feeling was gone.

There is more to write about, but I'm getting tired and it is getting late. I'm already past my newly installed bedtime of 12:30. I need to call my computer whiz because my laptop- which is networked to my desktop has suddenly stopped picking up the connection. I have no idea how to fix that, so I need Dick's help.

Well friends, I am off to bed- have to write my list first, I have a ton of things to work on. Until tomorrow friends..

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Welcome April

Well, here we are- the start of a new month and I am in spring cleaning mode- literally. My office has been looking like a major bomb went off in it, so today I spent a good portion of the day cleaning and organizing. I did have a lot of other things to do today, but the mess was getting distracting. There were a lot of little things that needed to be taken care of and they were piling up around me- thank you letters to write, data that needed entered, some bills to pay, documents that needed filed, etc. I haven't finished cleaning, but it looks a million times better. I need to take some time tomorrow and write down my goals for the month. I have goals for the year, but I don't write down goals for the month. There is a lot that I want to accomplish this month and I'm feeling rather overwhelmed, so this will be a good start. I had planned to respond to quite a few emails today, but I got so bogged down with cleaning, I didn't get to very many of them.

I did schedule a donation to an organization in Framingham which runs a number of metro west area homeless shelters. We are going to be dropping off stuffed animals, books, coloring books/crayons there on Monday. I need to buy some more coloring books before Monday, our supply is running low.

Tomorrow, I have my DWC Metro West networking lunch. I really enjoy the networking lunches, the only thing I don't like is that it takes up a big chunk of the afternoon and that takes away from getting things done. In the evening, the Women's Success Network is having their dinner and special fashion show which is going to be hosted by Kennedy. Guess who is modeling clothes in the show! Yes- for a non-model, I do get to strut on stage quite a few times! I'm looking forward to it.

Well, that's the latest. I'm off to eat grapefruit, watch Jay Leno and then go to bed early. Yesterday, I wasn't feeling well at all- I didn't get a lot of work done. I've been going to bed early, I've been super tired and couldn't keep my eyes open. I am feeling better tonight, but I am planning on going to bed early again.

Before I forget- in other good news, it looks like we may have a guest speaker for our Anniversary event. I don't want to jinx it, because it isn't confirmed, but keep your fingers crossed for us please. Hopefully, tomorrow I will have a confirmation. Until tomorrow friends...