Monday, August 18, 2014

Grant Writing... and Winning!

As summer comes to a close and school starts up soon (Benjamin tomorrow! Eeek!), I am once again reminded of how much I miss the classroom. I miss the freshness of new kids coming in, organizing, planning for instruction, and what I miss the very most, teaching. I just love watching my own kids grow everyday, but I do excitedly dream of heading back to the classroom in the future.

During my teaching years, I wrote a lot of grants. In fact, I was one of the main writers on our team to win our school the California Distinguished Schools Award for the first time. Many veteran teachers had been on the committee before and the school never won after years of trying. They said it couldn't be done. Everyone was discouraged. If you know me, you know I'm fairly determined and not willing to take no for an answer if what I want is something I'm passionate about. Well, we did it. In addition, I won a series of grants through Mobil to be the only classroom on our campus with a SmartBoard, EXPO document camera, students response systems and a variety of other teaching tools, many related to technology. I love writing grants. Maybe it's my journalism background that just gets fired up. Or maybe it's the competition of it all.

Well, it's been a few years. A month or two ago, I randomly saw a program online by JOLLY TIME Pop Corn called the Kernals of Kindess awards program. They were selecting individuals or organizations that "pop up" and make a difference in other peoples' lives. They were giving away 100 grants of $1,000 to keep doing great work in honor of JOLLY TIME's 100th anniversary (of being a 5th generation family-run company... how cool is that?). When I saw this, I immediately thought of Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep and the impact they made on us as a family, giving us the precious gift of Andrew's only photos. Those photos mean more to us than any other gift because that is all we have of our son. We're just so grateful. And we didn't pay a dime for those photos or the 1 a.m. session of that photographer coming into our hospital room and facing us at our worst time. I wanted to support this amazing non-profit and give it a go! I had nothing to lose and only about 15 minutes of my time to sacrifice-- a lot less time than that photographer spent with us that night.

I put my fingers to work and filled out the application, nominating NILMDTS. I don't remember what I wrote, but wish I remembered! I randomly checked my junk mail box last night to find an email announcing I won one of the 100 grants.

Out of 6,620 entries!

The story of NILMDTS will be featured in October and I can't wait to link you all to that when it comes around. Aside from the monetary gift, they are receiving so much publicity that is much-needed for the fantastic non-profit that they run. Conveniently, as my friend Caroline pointed out, they will be featuring the story during the Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness week in October. I don't know if that's just coincidental, but it's fantastic.

While it's just a snippet, just look up at the header of my blog to see some of the art of a fantastic NILMDTS volunteer photographer to know why I am indebted to their kindness and work on behalf of grieving families.


LookItsJessica said... [Reply to comment]

Wow, good job! That is amazing work for an equally amazing cause!

Sarah said... [Reply to comment]

Well done, Brandy! I feel the same way about NILMDTS. Here is a nonprofit that no one has ever heard of until they need its services. Our photographer came out at 11 pm. on a Friday. I was still on morphine from my C-section had no idea how late it was until after she left. I still think that's the kindest thing anyone has ever done for me.

Mama Bear said... [Reply to comment]

Yay! Nice work!!

Caroline said... [Reply to comment]

You're amazing. As is NILMDTS.

Laura Jane said... [Reply to comment]

I'm proud of you!

Alison G. said... [Reply to comment]

So cool. Nice job!

Veronica said... [Reply to comment]

That is so great! I want to hug you! Such great work, both you and NILMDTS

Melissa said... [Reply to comment]

Wow. Wow. Wow. Go Brandy! You make us all so proud.

Jenny said... [Reply to comment]

Wow! Well done using your skills for such an organization and for the families they serve.

Natasha said... [Reply to comment]

That's so awesome Brandy! Our NILMDTS photos are so very important and special.

AlliFerg said... [Reply to comment]

(I'm catching up!) You're amazing! Congrats!

Karoline said... [Reply to comment]