Dedication: I would like to dedicate this to all My GOTR team and coaches. You ladies and girls inspire me to do great things and you motivate me. You all are awesome. Don't ever let anyone tell you that you can't do something because look at what we have achieved.
I am a mom that truly loves GOTR and what it stands for. My daughter absolutely loves this program. I am lucky enough to be able to participate in this program through our school and we have great coaches that allow me to do so. I had asked if I could take charge of the community project this year and they gladly said yes. My goal with this project was to make an impact on these girls that would last a life time. Also to teach them what GOTR is all about, this project would build their confidence, allow them to work as a team and give back something beautiful to their community.
Hammond, In has a field that is suppose to be a park, nothing is in it, but an old backstop that had a shrub going through it and an old yellow climber and swings. It has 2 old cottonwood trees that stand at opposite ends. My goal was to be able to get donations to put in trees, benches and a track. This was going to be a lot of work, but I was up for the challenge as this program and our team motivate me to wanna do something awesome with our girls.
The journey begins. It all begin with contacting Mark Heintz at our park dept. When he heard what I wanted to do he was all on board and thought it was great. I soon found myself in a meeting with several people from the City of Hammond including our councilman. Everyone came to the table with all kinds of great ideas and were all excited about this park they gave us free range. Prior to the meeting I had made a couple contacts one was Lisa and Ray Ritchie for Border Magic of NWI. When I had asked about doing a border around a flower garden she was all on board and wanted to help out anyway they could. She had mentioned her sister company that makes boulder and I should contact them. I did and Denise Piers from Boulder Design Studios was all on board willing to donate a boulder with the GOTR logo. How amazing this was starting out. I did present the boulder idea to the park dept. they were pretty impressed.
After the meeting it was full force knowing I had everyone on board. I had contacted NIPSCO for trees they were unable to get us trees, but gave us 500.00 to purchase trees. I teamed up with Home Depot in Hammond and they provided us with wood for the benches and concrete for our boulder, more trees and perennials. I was able to get even more trees and perennials from Anderson Auto Parts in Hammond, Our local subway donated 60 sandwiches so we could feed our girls, sponsors and volunteers. House of Pizza Donated 5 giant pizzas, Save A Lot gave us 100 bags of chips, Jewel in Dyer, In gave us apples, bananas and water, Service Sanitation in Gary discounted a porta potty, We even got a local printing company Advantage Signs and Printing in Hammond to print and donate all of our girls shirts for our community project, that listed all of our sponsors. Cabela’s donated Items for raffles and water. Border Magic was donating the border and We also had the boulder being donated as well, but there were some expenses that had to be paid such as the paint and stenciling. Our GOTR Highland office took care of that for us. Zanes DJ service lent his equipment for music and announcements. BMO Harris in Hammond gave us bags for goodies and items for the bags. It was amazing how well all this was coming together.
The day came. What an amazing day it turned out to be. What I had hoped this project would be, it was. The girls bonded, it built their confidence, they learned about team work and they loved what they were doing, who knew giving back to your community could be so much fun!!! They wanted to stay all day. They planted 18 trees, many perennials and annual flowers and cleaned up debris and branches. They also mulched all the trees and our flower gardens. Most of our girls never did anything like that and they loved it. We had given them an opportunity they never may have had.
After all the clean up later that night I wanted to walk down and just intake all that was done. Upon my arrival I saw 2 girls from the neighborhood running, doing cartwheels just really enjoying the park. I had spoken with their grandmother and she said they never walked over or done anything in the park, but the girls couldn’t help themselves they just had to go to the park and take it all in. Since then as I drive by I see people just sitting on the benches intaking all that we did. People have been enjoying the park and my heart is filled with joy that our community is enjoying and loving what our GOTR team has done. I find myself smiling at the thought, our girls did this and it will be there for many, many years to come.
This project had its many challenges, but I wasn’t going to give up. With all the challenges and even negative responses I wasn’t going to let people cloud my rainbow! If I had let them it would reflect off to our coaches and GOTR team and I refused to let that happen. Yes, thinking big has it challenges, but if you believe enough in what you are doing you will achieve your ultimate goal and do something great.
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