Fun(d) Raising for Special Olympics
By Brenda Stuart, Special Olympics Colorado Parent
We’ve all been there. The doorbell rings, and you look outside to see the neighborhood kids selling Girl Scout cookies, Boy Scout popcorn, gift wrap for the PTA fundraiser, or Butter Braids for Special Olympics. If you keep the lights off and stay very quiet, maybe they’ll go away.
But then you might run out of gift wrap this year, miss out on your chance for some pretty tasty cookies and mouthwatering pastry, and even worse, be denied the opportunity to make a difference in a special person’s life.
More Than Money
When my son, Jack, came home with the annual Butter Braids sales form, I noticed the big grin on his face. I thought he was eager for me to buy the yearly Thanksgiving and Christmas morning treat. But no, he asked me to grab my jacket and go around the neighborhood with him to watch him sell Butter Braids. I have yet to see someone say “no” when he asks “Will you help me and other athletes make it to state this year?”
With every sale, my son’s grin got bigger and bigger. It seems he gets the same sense of accomplishment when selling as he does from swimming, playing basketball, or running. It’s the same reason so many Special Olympics athletes participate in the annual Plane Pull and Torch Run. Maybe Special Olympics Colorado should consider a special medal for fundraising!
Cash for a Cause
It helps that Jack’s teams always choose Worlds Finest Chocolate candy bars, and, Butter Braids to sell since these treats practically sell themselves! It’s been a great opportunity for us to meet more neighbors and for them to meet him. And through our door-knocking, we’ve also found Coloradans to be among the most generous in the country when it comes to supporting worthy causes. Once Jack explains how their money is helping him and others compete, most of our neighbors have increased their orders. They also enjoy the grin on his face as much as I do.
I should point out that Special Olympics CO provides year-round training and competitions at no cost to the athletes or their families. But it does cost money to rent the pool every week and keep the locker rooms clean. The fundraising also provides necessary equipment and uniforms for teams.
Our goal this year was to raise $278 for the Special Olympics Cherry Creek Swim Team. So far, we’re at $550, and Jack shows no signs of slowing down. I’m looking forward to helping deliver all those Butter Braids when they arrive in a few weeks, and I know our customers are looking forward to getting them and seeing the look on my son’s face when he rings their doorbell.
So maybe the next time the doorbell rings, consider turning the lights back on and walking proudly to the front door, and saying, “How can I help you?” Just by answering and smiling, you already have.
Brenda Stuart is a Denver journalist and frequent volunteer with Special Olympics Colorado. Her son’s favorite activities are swimming, basketball, and special events like Tip-a-Cop, the Plane Pull, and the Polar Plunge.