If we are going to be kind, let it be out of simple generosity, not because we fear guilt or retribution.
- J.M. Coetzee
I am thrilled to follow up on our church youth group’s dance benefit for Guideposts for Kids Comfort Kits, held on May 31 (my Grandfather Peale’s birthday). It was a terrific success!
Success took on many forms.
The church and its leadership supported the youth group’s idea, as well as the execution, of their outreach project.
The youth group and their leader worked collaboratively over a few months to make the vision of the dance come about. They planned. They shopped for decorations (all in keeping with the blue and yellow theme of Comfort Kits). They asked for and received donations of food and balloons from local businesses. They found a DJ who knew all the right songs to play for the 10- to 13-year-old age group.
They made announcements in church about the event. They went on our local radio station and advertised the event. They made baked goods to enjoy at the dance. They shared invitations (beautifully created and donated by a friend of our youth group leader) with their school and sports friends.
Most of all, they worked together, knowing this was all for a cause bigger than themselves. You could just feel the excitement in each of the youth group members as everything came together.
The day of the dance was filled with that wonderful hustle and bustle of preparation—picking up food, decorating, making sure they had the sign-in form and the welcome table all set, and putting the final touches on what everyone hoped would be a terrific evening.
And a terrific evening it was! Roughly 40 kids from several different communities attended, each donating $10 to help provide Comfort Kits to children in hospitals and other pediatric settings. They danced. They ate. They chatted with one another and made new friends. They had their photos taken with Sparkle the Star. They had fun competing for raffle prizes and the “best dancer” prize.
The room was full of positive energy—the energy of joy, of excitement, of community. Our minister commented at church the following Sunday that it was clear these kids were energized by giving to a worthy cause through their participation in the event. Yet they were also receiving the gratification of reaching out to others, being part of a community and knowing that each of us can make a difference.
Our minister went on to say that seeing the room filled with music and dancing and kids celebrating felt to him much like what we hope to get out of our church experience—a sense of giving, receiving and community.
So I would say that the youth group’s dance benefit for Guideposts for Kids Comfort Kits was a tremendous success—for all of the reasons above (not to mention that more than $1,300 was raised!).
Grandfather Peale would have been so proud of the kids, all of them. Not just the youth group, but the guests as well. They all contributed to a positive outreach effort and made a difference in the lives of sick and injured children. He could not have asked for a better birthday gift!
Katheryn (Katie) Allen Berlandi is the seventh of Guideposts cofounders Dr. Norman Vincent Peale and Ruth Stafford Peale’s eight grandchildren. She is a clinical social worker with a private practice focusing on children, adolescents and families, and a consultant for Guideposts and the Guideposts Foundation. Katie lives in a small town in Connecticut with her husband, two daughters and son.