Thursday, October 27, 2011

Happy Story

Well, I have a happy story to share tonight. Yesterday, there was a carjacking in Everett- a man took off with a truck which had a sleeping 7 year old girl in the backseat. He dumped the truck a short time later and the girl was unharmed. On the evening news, the reporter said that the little girl left the police station later holding a stuffed animal. We have donated to Everett PD before, so when I heard that, I wondered if it was a stuffed animal from us. I decided to call today to see if they needed more items. I called the Chief's office and as soon as I said that I was from Project Smile, the secretary immediately said they needed more items. She told me the little girl had received our stuffed animal and coloring book/crayons and she was happy to get them. It is always great to hear the stories of when our items are used. We're going to be making another donation to Everett PD next Tuesday. Today was a busy day. I was working on contacting police departments and shelters to schedule more donations. I scheduled another donation to a Boston family homeless shelter for next Wednesday. I'm also dropping off our donation to Goodwill's holiday party next Tuesday as well. I also started working on a grant which is due in early November. Well friends, that's it for tonight. I feel really tired all of a sudden, I think it might actually be an early night- it is only 11:30! Until next time...

Monday, October 24, 2011


Our Project Smile 8th Anniversary Celebration was a success! What a relief! We raised almost $10,000 and had great attendance. I am so glad that is over and went well. I get so anxious about these events, you can't even imagine. Steve Aveson, NECN anchor, gave a very moving speech at the event- it was really touching. Miss Massachusetts did a great job and our host, Dick Ferrucci was wonderful as always. He is fantastic at doing live auctions, it really is something to watch. I wish I had video of it- he really get the crowd going. Steve Aveson and Miss Massachusetts helped with the live auction as well. I'm really so grateful for everyone who attended and everyone who donated and sponsored the event. This event means so much to us, particularly given how our grant funding has decreased this year. I really made sure to take a little time on Friday night to look around and take everything in. I spend most of the night walking around and chatting with people- which I absolutely love to do. While Dick was introducing our speaker, I was looking out at the audience and felt so happy about how far we've come over the years. I know there is a lot more to do, but it feels great to have the time to celebrate all the good things that have happened. We got some great photos from the event which I put on our PS Facebook page today. Here is is a really nice one, courtesy of David Fox.
I still have a few more auction items to get to people. Today, I chucked the stack of donation request letters that I've faxed over the last nine months for the date auction and anniversary celebration. It is always such a huge pile of letters. Now that the events are over, I definitely don't need to hold onto the letters. It is nice to have a break for the next two months from auction item hunting. I don't miss that at all. January will come around very quickly and it will be back to work on both events for next year. Well friends, there is lots more to write about, but I am very tired. I've been trying to clean up my office and was going to go back and do some more organizing, but I'm ready to fall asleep. Until tomorrow friends...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Two Days to the Big Night!

Well, we are less than 2 days from the big night- our Project Smile 8th Anniversary Celebration. I can't believe it is almost here. Things are looking good for the event, although I am super anxious, but that is hardly new. I was up until 3am last night getting the bid sheets for the silent auction ready. It is a fairly simple task, but it does take quite a bit of time. It is always a trick to pick the right starting bid- you don't want to start too low or too high. Tomorrow, I am picking up our delicious cake at Konditor Meister in Braintree and our sports items. I'm also picking up our programs and new Project Smile sign at Staples in Watertown. I have one more auction item to pick up in Franklin, then we are done. One of the big ticket silent auction items arrived on Monday. I heard back about the other big auction item- it should be arriving shortly. I don't want to keep nagging the donor, so I didn't email today. If it doesn't arrive by late morning tomorrow, I will email- because at least that leaves enough time for it get overnight mailed. There are still a couple of other donors whose items I don't have and it doesn't look like I will be getting them. It is disappointing, but at this point there is nothing that can be done about it. I know that people get busy, but when it is frustrating when people say they are going to donate- repeatedly, then either disappear or make it so difficult to get the item that it becomes impossible. The good news is that we have over 100 silent auction items, so other than waiting for the last big item, we are all set. I confirmed with our guest speaker tonight, confirmed with our balloon company and musicians and spoke with the hotel. I plugged in our credit card machine- it keeps having issues when it gets unplugged for a certain period of time, but it is back on track now. The girls who helped run the door last year are coming back to help and we have two more volunteers helping with the auction payment portion. I still have to write my speech, but I need to relax for a few minutes before I can write. I feel like I still have so much going through my head. I keep feeling like I am forgetting to do something for Friday. I hope we get a good attendance- that by far is the most nerve wracking part. One does all this work- over 9 months of getting sponsors and donations, doing calendar photos, planning the event- it is a ton of time and effort- and it all comes down to nothing if it isn't a success. This event takes on even more pressure with the struggle that we've been having with fundraising. I don't know how else I could get people to attend. I've done everything that I know how to do to try to get people to come. It has worked well in the past, so hopefully we will stay on track. I get so nervous thinking about it. Well, that's it for tonight. I'm off to do the last couple of bid sheets and print out some more displays. Until tomorrow friends...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Home Stretch

Well, we are on the home stretch for our Project Smile 8th Anniversary Celebration. It is only a little over a week away now. Things are looking good, but still ultra stressful and nerve wracking. I'm waiting on two of our biggest auction items to arrive. They were promised to us a while ago and I've left phone calls and emails but haven't had any response. They are both items that we've had for the past few years, so I'm fairly confident that they will arrive, but it really is stressful. The items raise at least $800 between the two of them and they were heavily promoted as being in this year's auction. I don't want to nag the donors and be annoying, but the event is around the corner and we really need them to arrive. I'm also running around picking up other auction items that people can't mail. It is great to get the items, but it does get time consuming. I'm also following up with other people who have promised items but haven't sent them over yet. Even though we are only a week away, there are still quite a few other items that we're still waiting on. I still haven't heard back from a lot of people who I invited that are in the calendar, so tomorrow I need to get cracking on making phone calls to the people that we invited to make sure they got the invitation and encourage them to attend. It is such a fun event, but I always have to work really hard to get people to show up. Tomorrow, I am going to post the event on Boston.Com and Yelp. I have posted it on the Milford Daily News website, but I'm going to send over a press release to them too. I also need to follow up with other people who I've asked to help get the word out. There is nothing better than word of mouth marketing, it really is the best way to get people to attend events. Tomorrow, I am picking up our calendars! I am so excited to see them, especially with the new printer that we are using. I think they are going to look great. I really love this year's photos. Well, there is more to write about, but I am so tired. I went to see the play Candide at the the Huntington Theatre tonight- it was excellent. My friend Annie won the ticket voucher in the silent auction at our PS Anniversary event last year and she invited me to go with her! Until tomorrow friends...

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Steve Jobs died today, it's such a loss of a remarkable innovator who truly changed the world for the better. I was touched by his quote about finding your passion. "Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on." His words are so meaningful and so true. It is so important not to settle- to keep dreaming and keep working on ways to make things better and stronger. There are always ways to improve and grow. While there are days when I don't have the passion for work and when January comes around, it is hard to get geared up for working on our big events, and there is so much more that I want to do in my life from where I am now, but I do love what I do. Things do get better every year. Even though financially, things are a struggle and we don't always bring in more money every year- as an organization we get stronger ever year and as a business person I learn more and get to improve every year. I can't imagine having a full time job that I hated- I remember having jobs that I disliked intensely, but they were always either summer jobs or part time jobs. I can honestly say that before Project Smile, I never loved any job that I had. With Project Smile, I can't imagine ever loving any other job more. With Project Smile and maybe other endeavors in the future, I want to leave something behind that can make a difference long after my time has ended. I don't mean to sound all melancholy- it is just so sad when the world loses someone whose creative genius and hard work made such an impact on the world. He helped create products that many of us never could have imagined and in doing so, the world was changed. Hearing his quotes about the shortness of life and the importance of not settling until you have found what you love- it makes one stop and reflect. Until tomorrow friends...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Welcome October

Well, October has arrived! That means it is only 18 days until our 8th Anniversary Celebration! I promise I won't do a countdown every day until the Anniversary event, even if I am doing it every day in head. I still have more auction items to get in-hand, particularly some very big items. I need to keep working on getting people to attend, there are no words that can over estimate how important that is. I went away for a few days to Niagara Falls- I came home last night. I know that doesn't have anything to do with Project Smile, but it is important to take a break and have a complete change of scenery. I don't get to go away very often, so this was quite special. The Falls were absolutely fantastic, I'm so glad that I saw them. I worked really hard before I left so I could be as caught up as possible when I went back to work today. I felt re-energized today, so it definitely made a difference going away. I wish I could do it more often! So what else is happening? The photos and video from the Date Auction are now on our website. I couldn't get them all loaded onto the website, so I choose about 35 pictures to rotate through as a slideshow. All of the photos from the event are on our FB page. We get a certain amount of time included with our website for updates and we have to pay extra for additional time, so I really make a major effort to keep our updates within our allotted time for the month. That means I can't always get everything done that I wish, but all the important things get done promptly and our site looks good. We have a lot of FB fans, so people have definitely already been checking out the event pictures. We also loaded a lot more photos from the fashion show onto our Smiling Stiletto FB page. That was a good fundraiser- I would love to do two shows next year, a spring and fall show. You can check them out here. Well, that's it for tonight. I'm really tired all of a sudden, there is a lot more to write about, but my mind is starting to go blank. Until tomorrow friends.