Guests begin gathering to enjoy a gala evening during Family Relief Nursery’s major fundraising event, ”Let’s Make Magic Happen.” PROVIDED BY THE FAMILY RELIEF NURSERY
Nearly 250 tickets were sold to potential donors eager to help ”make magic happen” for at-risk children by attending Family Relief Nursery’s ”Let’s Make Magic Happen” fundraiser, held April 20 at Cottage Grove Armory.
The gala introduced new FRN executive director, Courtney McGinnis and featured renowned magician-mentalist Hart Keene, whose unique, interactive style combines illusion, mentalism and comedy.
”The magic show was first-class. I’m still trying to figure out some of the illusions; they seem beyond what is possible,” marveled FRN Board Treasurer Steve Carmichael.
The ”magic” happened offstage as well. While the amount raised to help support daily operations at all three FRN locations in Cottage Grove, Creswell and North Douglas won’t be known for several weeks, as pledges continue to come in, organizers are grateful for the generous support shown by donors. And because sponsors covered all event costs, ”donations will be directly used to support the Family Relief Nursery’s work with parents and children,” Carmichael said.
Through that work, FRN regularly helps ”magic” happen in the lives of children who often face more than 23 risk factors for abuse/neglect, including poverty, mental illness, homelessness, social isolation and more.
”Magic brings hope, brings wonder, brings the unimaginable – the belief that everything in life happens for a reason …. the idea that we all have a destiny to fulfill,” said McGinnis, featured guest speaker along with Trauma Healing Project executive director and lead trainer, Elaine Walters.
”Children should never be denied the right – not a privilege – to have a happy and safe childhood,” McGinnis added. ”They should have the opportunity to believe in something bigger than themselves; that dreams are possible; to believe in the unimaginable. To play, to dream, to feel safe, to feel loved, to know they have a safe bed to sleep in, to know they have food to eat when they are hungry – to have the opportunity … to have a beautiful future and the path to get them there.”
Stability and consistency are key to helping children overcome the risk factors keeping all that ”magic” at bay. ”Through our 24 years of service, we’ve discovered that families who stay with the Nursery the longest have more stable and healthy relationships. This exponentially improves the children’s positive long-term outcomes,” McGinnis said.
To that end, FRN announced a new Giving Garden and Footprint Pathway Donor Appreciation Mural, to be housed at the Cottage Grove site to recognize donors who help provide stable support for any of the Nursery’s three locations.
”Making a donor commitment provides a consistent base so the Nursery can continue to provide therapeutic supports to the highest-risk children,” McGinnis said.
Donating $2,000 per year for five years sponsors a child’s entire path through FRN. For $85 per month, donors can provide a year of family home visits, or morning snacks for the classrooms, or classroom art supplies. One-time donations also help keep the children FRN serves safe and out of foster care.
”Community support for all three locations is vital to children’s healthy development. Without our community support, these children would slip through the cracks,” McGinnis said. ”When we overlook our children, we overlook our future; we are turning our backs to the future leaders of our country, of our world. With the help and love from all of you … coming together as one, we will make the difference in the lives of our children.”
Helping to make that difference are ”Let’s Make Magic Happen” Platinum Sponsor Northwest Natural; Gold Sponsors PeaceHealth and Payne West Insurance; Silver Sponsors Starfire Lumber, First Presbyterian Church: Earth and Social Justice Commission, South Lane County Fire & Rescue and American Laminators.
FRN also acknowledged and thanked the following companies and individuals: MacGregor Bates, Inc.; City of Cottage Grove; Cottage Grove Interact Club; Alsco, Inc.; Garrett Bridgens; and Nate Robertson.
”Let’s Make Magic Happen” represented a departure from the ”Sigh of Relief” fundraising luncheons FRN has traditionally held in Cottage Grove – although the Creswell FRN Committee has hosted fundraising dinners for the past two years.
”We are looking at holding an evening event more often because people have enjoyed Creswell FRN’s (fundraising) dinners so much,” said Camas Canfield of FRN.
And, while some Creswell people attended the gala, Carmichael said the Creswell committee will still host their own annual event this fall to help support the Creswell satellite, which is ”operating at full capacity serving our local families who need assistance with their young children.”
If you’d like to help make the ”magic” of a safe and stable life filled with promise and opportunity happen for local at-risk children, donations may be mailed to: Family Relief Nursery, 720 N. 14th St. Cottage Grove, OR 97424; or made online at www.frncg.org. Classroom visits for individuals or groups may be arranged by calling 541-942-4835.