Remember Jump Rope for Heart? At my kids' school they still do it. Mostly it seems like a big bribe, all these neat prizes you can win if you raise a lot of money. And then there's the day when you jump rope in the gym while wearing a red Tshirt.
Kids aren't allowed to go door to door anymore (too unsafe, according to the school) (too embarrassing, according to me). They are encouraged to ask all their friends and family for donations. Anna wanted to email everyone in my address book, something I was not cool with either. My sister Emily and I both donated $5. I took the donation envelope to work, but everyone I work with makes poverty wages, so that got another $1.
So one day Anna announced she was walking her dog, and started to leave with a stuffed satchel over her shoulder. "What's in the bag?" I asked. "N-n-nothing!!!" she stammered guiltily. "Just show me," I said.
She produced a hand-made poster that said:
BENEFIT CONCERT FOR JUMP ROPE FOR HEART!
BY ANNA LASTNAME, AGED 10
SUNDAY AT 2 PM
"Oh, sweetheart," I said. "This is great, but you can't go posting your name and address, inviting people to our house, all over the neighborhood." She was crestfallen. "We'll think of some other way for you raise money." Reluctantly, she agreed.
Fast forward to the next Sunday. I had boxes everywhere, putting Christmas decorations away. (I don't keep my decorations up that long; its just been that long since I posted). A polite young man knocks on the door and says, "Hi, my name is Alan G. Is Anna Martin having a benefit concert today?"
"Um, Anna! Your friend is here for a concert." Anna looked sheepish and scared. She had told some classmates about the benefit concert, but forgot about it after I nixed the posters. This boy's mother had driven him to our house! "How long is this going to last?" he asked. "Five minutes," I promised, and told Anna she had to follow through. The boy relayed it to the mom, who was waiting in the car. I rounded up Colin and some nice neighbor boys who were playing outside.
Anna wasn't exactly prepared, so first she played a song on the piano. Then while she got herself "ready" Colin played a song on the piano. Then Anna returned with her song notebook, a spiral full of lyrics she's written herself. She backed up to the wall looking nervous, took a deep breath, then sang two of her creations. She did great. You can tell Taylor Swift is a major influence on her songwriting. Then Colin came out with a jar that had a post-it note on it that said, "Tips." Alan put $5 in the jar and left.
I was so proud of Anna! I don't think she realized it would be that hard to actually throw a Benefit Concert, but she didn't crumple. Unfortunately, she still didn't raise enough for the prize she wanted.