My girl, Karla Winandy of Bell State Bank, asked my husband and me if we would like to give away $1000 of Bell State Bank’s Pay It Forward money.  For those of you who know us, we often do random acts of kindnesses. They range from leaving a generous tip, to buying someone else’s coffee/meal to reducing the price or not charging for our professional services.  We aren’t looking for thanks. We’re looking for the feeling…the high we get by doing these little, seemingly insignificant random acts of kindnesses.

Karla remembered the “Mother’s Day” story the Fargo Forum ran last year about Trinity and our daughter handing out flowers to moms who were unluckily/luckily grocery shopping on Mother’s Day. She thought Trinity and I “would be the perfect recipients” and that we’d “do something truly heartfelt.”

I was overjoyed to be given this honor.  And of course, I really wanted to find a good cause for this money.  I didn’t want it to go to a well known or large non-profit or charity, I wanted something smaller, something local, something within our community.

My first selection came easily and was somewhat a no-brainer. I chose the NOW Project which is a charity that has a chapter right here in Fargo.  My girl, Mariah Prussia, told me The NOW Project is a world-wide non-profit organization that is designed to prevent, empower, protect and restore the health and well-being of all women and children.

This organization teaches women/children how to fight an attacker by teaching them warning signals (verbal and non-verbal), how to engage in combat that may save their lives (several scenarios are taught) and how to deal with verbal/emotional abuse.   Mariah said she is working with the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center, NDSU and local schools to bring this curriculum to them.

I’ve had female clients who have been sexually harassed in the workplace and they didn’t have any idea how to deal with it. I am a survivor of emotional/verbal abuse and a large part of my Work is to empower others, soooooo you can see why this one was an easy choice for me.

The second selection had me scouring the internet for local non-profits/charities that dealt with infants/children’s needs (diapers, blankets, books, clothing, milk).  Nothing fit. Nothing was clicking. I’d let it rest and then search some more.  Nothing.

Then, as I was leaving a local grocery store earlier this week, it ‘hit’ me like a ton of bricks who the rest of the money should go to. I literally rolled my eyes and said, “DOI!” It was right there all along, I just couldn’t see it.

The second recipient is a mom and grandmother whom, over the span of several months, took good, watchful care of our newborn daughter. She allowed this new momma to feel confident we made the right decision to entrust our precious cargo to a local daycare. Even after Ceta had transitioned to another room, and then another, DeeAnn would check in on Ceta and visit with us.

DeeAnn’s husband was in a car accident around Christmas 2013 where he sustained a debilitating brain injury.  Surgeons removed a portion of his brain dealing with memory and because of this he needs 24-hour care. DeeAnn took a leave of absence from her beloved newborns and became a full-time care taker for her husband.  I can only guess at the emotional and financial strain this has placed on her and her family. Because of the kindness she showed to this exhausted first-time momma and the devotion she shows to her ‘babies’ and her family, we chose DeeAnn as our second recipient.

A huge THANK YOU to Bell State Bank for offering this program, to the Fargo Forum for running the story about Trinity giving away flowers, to Karla for remembering the story and thinking of us to Mariah for overcoming her own emotional obstacles to bring The Now Project to Fargo to DeeAnn for being DeeAnn.  I could go on, but I’m hoping you get the picture of how interconnected we REALLY are (insert sly smile here).

A fortune cookie saying.

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