Archive for the ‘Promotions / Events’ Category

Why Do You Run?

April 21, 2011

Awareness Home Funding shared in our April e-newsletter that three of our employees are participating in the 2011 Riverbank Run.  They are running not only for personal reasons, but to also help In The Image and their S.H.O.E.S. program which provides shoes for at-risk students in three area school districts.  Last year they helped 9,000 kids and have a goal of helping with 12,000 pairs of shoes this year!

A link for each member of the Awareness Team is included if you would like to help area kids by supporting their run.  Let us introduce them to you.

Robin Baker began running 16 years ago because of the positive influence of her father, Al Owens.  Al has been very involved in the Grand Rapids racing community for over 35 years and has passed the passion to his daughter.  Robin also likes the aerobic base it gives her for all the other activities she enjoys.

This year Robin is participating in the 5k race.  Her main goal:  to run and have a good time with her friend Shanna and to pass the passion to Shanna’s son, Kendrick.

Robin said she particularly loves the Riverbank Run because it is a great race with high energy.  “I grew up in the crowd as a little girl, waiting at the finish line for the first, second and third places to come through” shared Robin.  “You always knew when they were approaching because you could hear the roar from the crowd getting closer and closer.  And then I would wait for my dad to finish, which he would never do until he found my mom in the crowd and stopped to give her a kiss and thank her for her support.  Now I use the Riverbank run to kick-off my summer of racing fun.  My husband and I are signed up for several weekend adventure races.”

To support Robin, follow this link: http://www.active.com/donate/intheimage2011/BakerR

Shanna Black has a unique perspective on this year’s race because of her son, Kendrick.  “We are very excited to do this event together. I’m hoping that he will enjoy his first race and we can start an annual tradition of running the Riverbank Run together.” 

Shanna started running like most to stay active and healthy.  This will be her second year running the Riverbank 5k Run and has a personal goal of simply beating her finishing time from last year.

Visit this page to encourage Shanna and Kendrick: http://www.active.com/donate/intheimage2011/Shanna-Kendrick

The third member of the Awareness Team is Anthony McCullough.  Anthony started running just last year because he didn’t think he could run a 5k.  He kept running after his first race as a method of exercise for himself and his dog.  “It was the best way to give my dog exercise.  When you have a tall 100lb Doberman just walking him does not get rid of the energy he has.  So we had to move to running.”

Anthony’s goals have expanded rather quickly since his first 5k last year.  He ran in a 10K also and this year can be seen in the 25k.  He has set a personal goal of finishing in 2 hours and 20 minutes, but the primary goal is to “mainly just finish”.

Let Anthony know you care by clicking on this link: http://www.active.com/donate/intheimage2011/amccullough

Please support our runners by encouraging their efforts.  However, the primary goal is to support area at-risk kids.  It is inspiring to see how a pair of shoes can make all the difference.

Agents of Change

March 4, 2011

On a personal level the word change can be defined as making a difference in the state or condition of someone or to substitute another state or condition.  To change is to make a significant difference so that a person is distinctly different from what they were.  Change is inevitable in life for all of us.  The defining moment however, is whether or not that change is positive. 

Sometimes it is specific person or group that initiates these transformations.  They are agents of change and possess such characteristics as being sensitive, realistic, flexible, tolerant, committed, influential, confident and passionate.  Allow us to introduce you to two agents of change.

Guiding Light Mission is located on Division Avenue in downtown Grand Rapids, MI.  They provide emergency services by way of shelter and meals to anyone in need as well as overnight shelter to men.  Their long history dating back to 1929 has equipped them to provide social, physical, spiritual and intellectual needs to men in the community with the ultimate goal of allowing individuals to discover a new life in Christ. 

The START program (Spiritual Truth And Recovery Training) is a 4-6 month recovery program for men with an expectation of re-engagement into the community.  A recent example is the Recovery Runners, a group of men from the START program who are training for the River Bank Run In The Image run team.  Their stories of overcoming addictions and hardship are inspirational; and now they run to complete yet one more transformation. (You can see their personal stories here:  http://www.lifeonthestreet.org/LIVE-ON-THE-STREET/Recovery-Runners.aspx

In The Image is the other change agent in this story.  They are an organization that links gently used clothing, housewares, furniture and appliances with families in need in the Greater Grand Rapids area. Their history dates back to 1987 when a couple of individuals paid attention to the needs around them.  That same attention to detail has lead to the addition of In The Image’s SHOES program – Shoes Help Our Elementary Students.  Last year this program distributed almost 9,000 pairs of shoes to kids in Grand Rapids, Wyoming and Kentwood school districts.

Guiding Light Mission and In The Image continue to impact the community, offering people in need a hand up as agents of change.  The baton has been handed to the men running as part of the In The Image run team.  Besides running to overcome yet one more personal challenge they are running to raise awareness and funds for at-risk kids.    With every $10 raised, In The Image is able to purchase a brand new pair of shoes for an area student.  It is amazing what a simple pair of shoes can do.  Now it is your turn.  Get involved with a commitment to positively help more kids this year. 

Awareness Home Funding will be supporting a group of runners from our company who will be running for In The Image.  You can support In The Image directly by visiting http://active.com/donate/intheimage2011and donating what you feel lead to do.  Be an agent of change yourself.

A Cause, A Story & An Opportunity

January 17, 2011

As a home loan lender you know that what you doing impacts lives.  Buying a home is not something that people do everyday.  Building a relationship with a client and walking with them through the process is very rewarding.  Added to that is our business philosophy to give back with every home loan we close.  This fact brings us in contact with some amazing groups.  Allow us to introduce you to a recent opportunity we had and invite you to join in.

This year we were again invited to participate with the Grandville/Byron Center Varsity Hockey team in their quest to not only be a winning team, but to also support a local charity.  This is a project the entire team gets behind.  The organization chosen this year is the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).  JDRF is a global leader in diabetes research, the go-to organization for the diabetes research community, and the best source of hope for better treatments and a cure for people with type 1 diabetes and its complications.  Most people know of diabetes, but really don’t understand the disease. 

Diabetes is a chronic and debilitating disease that affects every organ system.  There are two types of diabetes – type 1 and type 2.  Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin.  Insulin is a hormone that enables a person to get energy from the food they eat.  Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder in which a person’s body still produces insulin, but it is unable to use it effectively.

Nearly 24 million Americans have diabetes with a new case being diagnosed every 30 seconds on average.  Worldwide, 285 million people currently have the disease and that number is expected to grow to 435 million by the year 2030. 

Diabetics do have to make changes in their life.  It requires constant attention to diet, exercise, stress, fatigue, medication, illness and more.  But, it doesn’t have to stop life.  Following is one person’s personal journey.

My Journey With Diabetes

By Stephen Flood

 I was just the normal high school student living the life.  I had no worries in the world when I was on my way to South Carolina for spring break with the baseball team.  I was just a sophomore traveling with all upper class men in a minivan.  I never felt so embarrassed when I started to have the feeling to pee…ALOT.  I would have never thought that I had diabetes then, so there I was eating starburst and chocolates.

We finally made it to our home in South Carolina, and I never felt so relieved when I could finally pee whenever I wanted to.  But it only got worse and worse. During my practices, I was taking a knee just to catch my breath while doing simple drills.  I never felt so physically exhausted in my life.  I also had the worse case of cotton mouth, my lips were so dry that I had to make an effort to open them.  My legs were dead.  My lungs felt like they were going to collapse. Sleeping was nonexistent since I was getting up every 30 minutes to go to the bathroom.  I felt bad for my roommate because I kept waking him up getting out of the bed or flushing the toilet.  I told my mom what was going on, and she told me to drink cranberry juice because she thought I had a bladder infection.

We got home from our trip, and I started to feel better so we kind of just let it be for a little bit, and if it came back again we would go to the med center.  Well, it came back, and there we were sitting in this little room waiting for the doctor. I told him my symptoms, and we ran some tests.  The blood test is what had the doctor worried.  The blood sugar level wasn’t processing.  So we tried it again, and still nothing.  The meters that the doctors had only went up to 500.  The doctors sent me right to the E.R room and told me good luck.  I was confused on why they were saying good luck, because I still had no idea what was going on.

I was laying down on this bed built for 10 year olds, I had my legs dangling from the end of the bed and a needle in my arm.  Yet I was still able to enjoy myself since we were watching the Detroit Red Wings playoff game.

 The nurse made me very comfortable and I still am very thankful for him as he calmed me down.  I asked for a pillow and he jokingly hit me with the pillow.  It was now 11:17 pm when the doctor dropped the ball.  “You do have diabetes Stephen.” The doctors explained.  It didn’t really hit me when he told me.  I just had no clue what to do.  I didn’t know what was going to happen, no clue on how everything was going to change.

Lying in my own bed that night after the doctors let me go home, it hit me.  The doctors told me that I couldn’t eat anything that night, and the last time I ate was in the morning.  I thought to myself “Wow, this stinks!”

The next day, I didn’t go to school.  I had the whole day basically learning about everything there is to diabetes.  I was there from 9am in the morning to 2 pm and I had a baseball game that day.  My dad rushed me back to the game, where I started in left field.  That’s when I realized that I can make it easily.  It’s just another new challenge I have to face every day now.

Now, I’m a senior at Grandville High School, playing three sports this year.  I’m just a little bit different than a normal person, and yet I’m still living the life.  

 So what can you do?  For starters gain a little information.  The JDRF website  has information on the disease, the latest research, support, and tips for living with diabetes.  You can also stay informed to what is happening locally on their Facebook page .

Second, get involved!  January 29, 2011 the Grandville/Byron Center Varsity Hockey team will be hosting the Second Annual Charity Game.  This is a great evening of hockey all while supporting JDRF.  Game starts at 4:00pm at the Georgetown Ice Arena in Hudsonville, MI.  An auction of collectable sports memorabilia and more will take place after the game.

One Really Good Day

January 6, 2011

Yesterday was awesome!  Let me start by saying it wasn’t due to the sun shining on newly fallen snow or that I won the lottery.  (Just for the record I didn’t even play.)  Yesterday was a truly great day because I was able to visit three area non-profits with gifts of support to help them continue their efforts.  For extra measure I even threw in a visit to a new friend who is organizing an upcoming event you really should attend.

The reason for these visits was the result of the AHF Charity Gridiron Challenge game we have been playing this NFL season.  Every week we encouraged friends, family, co-workers and supporters of all non-profits to register and play by picking the teams they felt would win their respective games.  The player with the most correct picks received a $50 gift card.  The non-profit organization they were playing for received $250 from Awareness.  While the game created some friendly competition and interesting office dynamics, the most important part was the ability to support some great organizations. 

The day started with a brief stop to see Jay Starkey, Executive Director at In The Image.  This is an organization that connects families in need with donated clothing, furniture, appliances and more.  Every year they also help area at-risk kids get a new pair of shoes for school.  Last year they were able to help nearly 9,000 kids and have a goal of helping 12,000 kids this year.  Jay, his staff and many more friends played with great enthusiasm all season long with a desire to win “at least just one week”.  That was just what they did the last week of the regular season thanks to a long-time friend of Jay’s.  $250 to In The Image means helping 25 kids with new shoes.  This day was getting brighter as I began to see what these organizations can do with a relatively few bucks.

I then made my way across town to Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids.  If you have not heard about all the excitement going on there lately where have you been?  Gilda’s Club is a place where people of all ages gather to learn about cancer, share experiences with others, and have the opportunity to laugh along the way.  This March Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids will celebrate 10 years of keeping that signature red door open and warmly welcoming all who want to enter with Laugh Fest.  This is the first annual 10 day event that is sure to tickle every funny bone you have. 

I was extremely honored to deliver to them as our grand prize winner, a check for $2500.  It was fun to watch the faces of three weekly winners who also happen to be on the staff of Gilda’s Club beam with pride at their successful efforts.  However, it quickly sank in that this money also meant they had more work to do, more lives to help, more smiles to share.  Incidentally I also had another contribution for them.  You see the real difference in the Awareness business is that we make a contribution of $250 with every home loan we close; and a client had  just asked us to help Gilda’s Club as a result of their loan.  That is one part of my job that will never grow old.

I took a slight detour from delivering checks from the Charity Gridiron Challenge game to deliver one for the next event we are sponsoring.  The Grandville/Byron Center Varsity Hockey team is hosting their second annual charity game.  This year they are raising funds and awareness of Juvenile Diabetes by supporting JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation).  A team mom decided to chair the event this year since her son, a senior on the team, has type 1 diabetes.  (If you missed his story in our January e-newsletter, sign up to receive it for free.)  The charity game is January 29 at the Georgetown Ice Arena.  Visit our Facebook page for all the details under the Events tab.

By now I wondered if there was anything to top my excitement.  I had already brightened the day of 3 groups and had one more stop to make – Harbor House Ministries.  Peg Driesenga is the Executive Director of a Christian residence for people with severe mental and physical disabilities.  Like Gilda’s Club, Harbor House is not a place of dimmed lights and hushed tones.  The rooms are open and bright with an air of energy and excitement.  Laughter and conversations drift from all around.  Life is in full swing here.

Peg showed me The Cove, a new activity and physical therapy building on their property.  They have a personal goal of remaining debt free and our contribution was another partner making sure that stayed a reality.  I was really impressed by the love and compassion the staff at Harbor House possesses to care for their residents.  Hopefully we can bring you their full story sometime.

This was one really good day.  And to think it all started with a simple game of picking football teams.  I guess the bottom line is that it’s not about how big the act of kindness is, but that you do act.  It’s not about the value of the check, but the value of the intention behind it.  We all have the same 24 hours in a day, what are you doing to make a difference with yours?

I Hope You Love Lilac

November 1, 2010
  • It will probably be raining or cold or both on Tuesday.
  • I am really too busy to be bothered.
  • The lines will be long.
  • I have to take to kids to school, then to practice.
  • My oldest needs a ride to the orthodontist.
  • I need the time to get my gear ready for gun deer season.
  • My boss doesn’t like me to take time off from work.
  • My toenails need clipping.
  • My vote doesn’t count anyway.

If you didn’t find your excuse for not voting tomorrow, November 2nd, in this list, feel free to add it.  Then consider this…

As I drove to the office this morning, I was listening to the radio.  I heard a commercial about a guy who had taken his car to an auto painter to have it painted midnight blue.  When he called the dealer to see if his car was ready to be picked up, he was told they had painted it lilac!  Insisting that he had ordered midnight blue, he was told that “they” decided to change the order to lilac.  As he headed toward the paint shop, the commercial ended with some rather threatening words, “I guess he cares enough about choosing the color of his car to take some action.”

Do you care enough to take some action?

Please join me at the polls on Tuesday, November 2.  Find one issue important enough to get you out in the rain or cold. 

  • The war on terror 
  • Homeland security
  • Taxes
  • Social Security
  • Marriage
  • Education
  • Health Care
  • The selection of a single local official or judge
  • The future of your children

If you don’t care, “they” will choose for you.  In that case, I hope you love lilac.

Forget Football in America! We’re Talking Football in the Office!!

September 1, 2010

It barely reaches 14 inches tall yet its stature is staggering.  It weighs in at less than a pound yet the power it yields is overwhelming.  The prestige of it is so great that it is kept heavily guarded in a top-secret vault somewhere in northern Kent County, Michigan.  What is it?  This can only be none other than the World Famous Traveling Trophy.

A moment of silent respect please ….

Every year at this time our employees enter into the fiercest of competitive events: the Pigskin Pick-Em’s.  Each week participating employees select which football teams they have determined will win their respective match ups.  Each week, when the results are revealed, one victorious person within our company receives the dubious honor of displaying this icon of power and posterity upon their desk for all to gaze upon.  The respect this trophy beholds is so great that no one dare touch it unless they have already been bestowed with the honor of winning any week’s picks.

Now before you think we have all totally lost it, let me assure that we are not a complete bunch of nuts.  We are just a little competitive during this season where bragging rights give us great personal satisfaction and cheap entertainment.  Hey we don’t get out much; we’re handling your home loans with the utmost focus.

But admit it.  You want to play now too don’t you? 

Unfortunately this game is just for us employees, but we are developing one you can play!  Each week you can visit our website and select your winning picks and we will post the winning player on our Facebook page.  Of course after the above description of our antics this seems a little lackluster.  That just won’t do.

So let us introduce the AHF Charity Gridiron Challenge!!  This will soon be up on our website for your enjoyment, bragging rights and competitive urges.  Each week you will play for a $50 gift card to a national chain restaurant.  But wait, there is more!  You will also be playing for your favorite non-profit, 501c3 verifiable charity.  (Sorry our legal department insisted that part be added.) When you win, your charity does too with a $100 check!  But that’s not all!

After 17 weeks of nail-biting, hair-raising intensity the charity that has ‘won’ the most weeks will also win an additional $2500!!  Now here is where the real fun begins.  Your involvement in getting others to play is critical because in the event of a tie between charities, the organization with the most number of supporters playing will be the winner.  Whoa! 

The game will be up and running on our website by September 7 along with complete rules and game details.  Act now, operators are standing by! 

Not really, but we do hope you have as much fun as we do.  Game on!!

An Endearing Appeal that Lingers On

August 10, 2010

The idea was to provide a little education and old-fashioned marketing to create some excitement over a product – specifically wool.  That was 1807 when Elkanah Watson first exhibited his sheep.  As with many good ideas, it grew – into annual agricultural events that are now held all across the country.  According to the Michigan Association of Fairs and Exhibitions, there are over 3,200 fairs held in North America every year; 86 of them just in the state of Michigan.

Fairs have become a kaleidoscope of events, exhibits and competitions showcasing knowledge, experience and advancements in industry, livestock, horticulture and agriculture.  Talk about an interactive classroom!  All this on display to tantalize the senses with what our world has to offer.  Now add some rides, food and smiles all around and you have a classic event for everyone that has entertained for generations. 

The alluring and endearing appeal is part of what has kept many of us at Awareness Home Funding coming back each year.  Not just to participate in child-like wonder and awe, but to support and encourage the benefits of honest home-grown goodness and hands-on education.  Fair is a place where the values of hard-work and integrity are still just as important as market-share and return on investment.

The beauty is that fair offers something for everyone.  Machines with power and force; athleticism showcasing grace and control; animals on display testing patience with understanding; sweet savory samplings to tempt and delight … Are you ready to join us?

The Kent County Youth Fair is here – August 9 -14 in fact.  Find us this year in the Children’s Barnyard or appreciating the club booths or talking with friends or eating elephant ears or … just come down, we’ll be there.  Take a peek at their website before you go though for all the details: www.kcfg.org

See ya at Fair!

Let’s Practice!

May 19, 2010

We have been telling you how easy the Awareness Works 4 U program is to implement.  We have explained that every time we close a home loan – purchase or refinance – we donate $250 to our client’s favorite non-profit organization.  We have made sure to tell you there is no cost, nothing to monitor, or new programs to launch.  The only step is to introduce us to your friends, relatives, co-workers and supporters of your favorite charities.

So let’s practice!

We are going to share some information with you, something very exciting.  This is news nearly everyone will be interested in hearing about.  This is knowledge you will want to share.  Once we give you the details, all you need to do is pass it along.  Do you Twitter?  Tweet this tidbit.  Do you Facebook?  Post this thought.  Do you text?  Send this message.  Do you still send emails or even converse personally on the phone?  Send it, speak it, share it. 

Ready??

We have two tickets to this year’s Indianapolis 500 Race!  To enter the drawing, visit our website and complete the simple registration form.  The link is located in the left panel.

Registrations will be accepted until 12:00 midnight EST on Tuesday, May 25, 2010.  We will randomly draw one winner to receive both tickets on Wednesday, May 26, 2010.  Sorry, but the tickets may not be exchanged for a cash prize and employees of Awareness Home Funding or it’s parent company, Polaris Home Funding are not eligible to enter.

Go!

By the way, if you would like to know about future events, promotions and news sooner, visit our Facebook page and “like” us.