Posts Tagged ‘football’

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?

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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!!