The Power of a Network

If you’ve been following the CCG Portland’s activity over the last couple of months you know our team is in the final training stage for our Sweet Run half marathon and 10k that we’ll be running on May 17th. A few weeks ago we hosted our first in-house fundraising event. We gathered to eat pizza and call, Facebook, Tweet and generally connect with all our friends and family to ask for donations. Every year it’s an effective and sometimes inspirational evening as we watch those friends and family members show up to support us by offering funds and/or words of encouragement.
This year, the evening started off slowly.  I posted a status or two on Facebook about the fundraiser and at first, only heard crickets in response.  Then – YAY – a donation!  A couple of minutes later – hooray! – another one! From that point on, donations seemed to roll in.  “My people” are all over the country; I had donations that night from Oregon, Illinois, Florida, Missouri, and Oklahoma. Asking for money is a very difficult thing, even for something you care deeply about.  To have such a response to my appeals was overwhelming.  I sat in awe as I thought about all the places I have lived and the people I have met, and how they were still supporting me years later.  I had donations from current and former pastors, many friends from church, co-workers, family members, college friends, and even a few unexpected surprises from people I’ve only met a couple of times.
 Yet I was feeling some sort of deep unease that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I just kept thinking about how amazing these people are. I’m extremely lucky to know them and to have a vast network to call on in case I ever needed anything or if something ever happened. And that’s when it hit me.  What we often see with the entertainers we work with is that they don’t have many people to call on. Their network can be small, sometimes isolated. The reasons for such situations can be endless- an unusual schedule that makes socializing difficult, a broken family background, or a controlling partner. Whatever the reason, the clients we see often don’t have a support system in place to assist in paying for a hotel room, figure out how to navigate health insurance, or to loan them a few dollars to get groceries at the end of a difficult month.
It seems that it should be a basic human right to have people we can all call on when times get hard, or even just when we’re sad and need some company. That’s why The Cupcake Girls exist. To be someone these entertainers can call on no matter what their needs are, what time it is, or who else has turned them away for asking the same questions. And really, that’s why I volunteer for this organization.  I can use my own network to allow great things to happen to a wider range of people. So thank you to my supporters and to all who follow, support, and/or give to The Cupcake Girls.  Your reach is larger than you know.
Peace, Love & Cupcakes

My tutu of supporters!