Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Have You Seen Hope?

Okay, so my post title is just a little corney, but nonetheless, I think you'll get my point after reading the entire post. As we round out the year, I have to tell you it's been a bit of a roller coaster for AWOL. With an ailing economy knocking on the front door at the beginning of the year, it was evident that all NPO's would be in great need in 2010. As donations declined, and some grant request came back denied, the beginning of the 4th quarter looked dismal to say the least. Since AWOL's inception, me and Tony have always been in the business of providing HOPE, when there seems to be none in sight. But this time, we were the one's actually in need of a little "hope" lol, and just like that, good ole HOPE can marching through the door.

I don't know if you have ever seen hope before, but it can come in many different forms. Sometimes its a person you know delivering a few kind words on a rough day, sometimes it's a person you don't know letting you use their Kroger plus card to get the discount that enables you to buy some grocery, and sometimes its and event you go to where the speaker delivers a gut wrenching tear jerking speech that sets your mind and heart on fire. Hope is a funny thing, you never know where or when or how it will show up. So by now your wondering who, what, when and how did "hope" come for AWOL this year.

Hope came in the form of a small creative business owner (and a few others) who decided that instead of send out a holiday card to clients and go home for turkey, they would instead conceptualize, develop and launch a major fundraising campaign for AWOL and all within about a 3 week timeframe! Yes, I thought they were nuts too!

Paragon Design Group has been AWOL's Hope this year. With a simple phone call, and one meeting to ask us if we would be okay with it (pause...really? they wanted to know what we thought about them leading a fundraiser for, we were off and running down the 2000 Strong, I Change Lives Campaign track. Not only did they bring their own creative juice to the table, they even enlisted the help of two other firms, HT Creative and Banker Optical Media. And when I told a friend about this amazing turn of events, all of a sudden more HOPE came marching through the door with two anonymous film professional donating their time and expertise to shoot a high quality PSA for the campaign. Wow! Check out the PSA below.

While I can't say that stuff like this never happens to AWOL (all things about AWOL have been serendipitous and just plain magical), I can say that its truly the first of its kind. In a year when our budget is going to take a 40% dip, our minds have been filled with ways to fill the gap and still meet the needs of the hundreds of Savannah youth that need a safe, creative and nurturing environment to go to during after school and evening hours.

This post is suppose to be about soliciting your help for the campaign, but I think it should be more about saying, thank you to Susan, Andrew, Phillip, James, Heather and Kevin (and my two incognito film makers) for giving us our MOJO back! I wish that I could design a super hero poster with all 8 of you in it, but photo shop work is a little lack luster, smile. We are humbled, tearful, and full of joy to know that a few like minded individuals care just as much about the youth of our community as we do. Not only that, you show it by actually DOING something to fix it.

So if you want to read all about why you should join the 2KStrong Campaign, you should check out Paragons Blogpost and visit the website at