Category Archives: Giving

Saying Thank You to Volunteers

A Malayan proverb says, “One can pay back the loan of gold, but one dies forever in debt to those who are kind.” I find this to be an especially fitting thought for today, which is the beginning of National Volunteer Week. National Volunteer Week is a week to recognize those hardworking souls who give their time and efforts to worthy causes.

All through high school, I watched my mom as she sat on various committees at the school I attended and volunteered for various activities at our grade school. She was so involved and, at certain points of the year, her free time was basically non-existent. You could read the exhaustion on her face, and every year, she would say, “I’m not doing this next year.” Of course, next year would roll around and she would volunteer again to chair the committee and I would say, “Why can’t you just say ‘No’?”

I suspect that my mom never answered that question because she didn’t quite know why she couldn’t say ‘No.’ However, I happen to think that she is just hard-wired to be a volunteer. She has the heart of a volunteer, and is attracted to volunteerism like a moth to a flame. Some people are like that. And this week, we recognize those people, who continually put others before themselves.  

I’m convinced that without volunteers, the world would stop spinning. Tangram is lucky to have a small, but dedicated group of volunteers. Some volunteer at our administrative office, some help with our special event, Summer Sizzle, some give their time as board members, and some have made valuable connections with our clients as friends, a role that gives richness to the lives of those we serve.

So, to all of those selfless individuals who proudly serve Tangram and our clients as volunteers, I would like to say, simply, Thank You. I hope you know how much you are appreciated.


Comments Off on Saying Thank You to Volunteers

Filed under Community, Giving, Inspirational

Throwing down the gauntlet

The sky is the limit…

A challenge:

As we begin the final week of 25 Days of Tangram, I offer a challenge. This is me throwing down the gauntlet. (A bit of trivia for those who enjoy nuggets of knowledge: a gauntlet is the armored glove of a knight, which was customarily thrown down to signify a challenge in medieval times. You’re welcome.)

Anyway, back to the challenge. I challenge each of you to share information about the 25 Days of Tangram with 3 people. Encourage each of those people to give $5 to the 25 Days and ask them each to spread the word to 3 people.

See where I’m going with this? This is a manageable, bite-sized challenge, and I am confident that, with a little effort, we can achieve our goal. I will take 5 minutes this afternoon to spread the word to 3 new people. And I will make your job easier, by providing you with all the necessary links and information (see below).

Together, I know we can prove that the sky is the limit! Good luck!          

Learn more about the 25 Days of Tangram

Read Alex’s Story

Give to Tangram

Follow Us on Twitter

“Like” Us on Facebook



Comments Off on Throwing down the gauntlet

Filed under Community, Disability, Giving, Impact

The hidden powers of hot chocolate

Building community…

I have a younger sister, and therefore, am no stranger to sibling rivalry and a kind of one-upmanship that would make certain reality show families cringe. So, when Emily approached me about fundraising for Tangram, the thought crossed my mind that she had taken her overachieving tendencies to a new level and was trying to do MY job better than I could do it. Okay, that may be a slight overreaction, but 20 years of solid sibling competition will make you believe some crazy things.

Her idea was to speak to the officers of the Purdue Chapter of Sigma Alpha Lambda and ask them if they would like to donate the proceeds of their hot chocolate and candy cane sales to Tangram as part of our big online campaign. They enthusiastically agreed.

Fast forward a little bit and there I was, pitching the idea to my boss, who totally loved it (score one for Emily). Fast forward yet again, and here we are, on the 9th day of December of 2010. Due to weather concerns, our fundraiser was cancelled, but I still wanted to give a shout out to the young men and women of Sigma Alpha Lambda.

The best part about making a connection with the West Lafayette community is that we are building and reinforcing a greater community. When the community is strong, everyone benefits. Who knew that hot chocolate could be such a powerful agent of social change?

I would like to send a sincere thank-you out to the students involved in Sigma Alpha Lambda who generously agreed to partner with Tangram and give us a hand with our 25 Days of Tangram Campaign. Your acts of service are great examples of how to build and strengthen community.



Learn more about Tangram

Comments Off on The hidden powers of hot chocolate

Filed under Community, Disability, Giving

The Art of Giving

Imperfect is perfect…

I detect a fair amount of stress in the atmosphere today. This is probably par for the course, considering the time of year. Isn’t it ironic that this time of year, which is supposed to be filled with warmth, hope, and goodwill, is the most stressful time of the year?

I find that the cause of most of this stress is money-related. We have all heard that the economy is bad and felt the effects. Because of the state of the economy, we are feeling more pressure from churches, schools, and charities to give.

This blog has largely been about giving. If you have been reading each day, you surely have found that there is more than one way to give. You can give your time as a volunteer. You can give your voice as an advocate. You can give money or in-kind contributions as a donor. You can build awareness by speaking about Tangram and, more importantly, those we serve.

The possibilities for giving are wide-ranging and each kind of giving has its own value. Whenever you think about giving, choose the type of giving that best suits you. If your mode of giving makes you happy, the impact will be greater for those who receive your gifts.

Give what you can. There is an art to giving, and as such, it should be thought of as an opportunity, not an obligation or a burden.

Stressing about giving the perfect gift, makes for hurried and thoughtless giving. In the wrong frame of mind, even perfect gifts seem imperfect. In the right frame of mind, imperfect gifts become perfect.

My wish for those of you who give is that you worry less about the gift and focus more on the perfect way to give. 



Learn more about Tangram

Comments Off on The Art of Giving

Filed under Giving, Impact

What would I do if my car broke down?

Make it happen…

I am chronically late. Every morning, I wake up about 40 minutes before I have to be out the door. In the span of time between my alarm going off and getting into my car, I decide how many more times I can press snooze, whether to brush my teeth before or after I shower, what to wear, what to pack for lunch, what materials I need for the day, whether I should make coffee at home or get some on the way to work, what coffee mug to use, whether or not to leave my heat on, whether or not to take the trash out, etc.

I shudder to think what my life might be like if I didn’t have a car that I could jump in at a moment’s notice. I have the luxury of running behind schedule or being late because I have my own (mostly reliable) mode of transportation and getting myself ready in the morning can take as little as 20 minutes.

For someone who uses a wheelchair and must rely on public transportation to get to where they need to be, planning is a huge factor in their life. Just getting out the door may require a couple hours of work. Then, one must plan around the bus schedule. There is no such thing as hopping in the car to run to the grocery store for that item you forgot to buy earlier in the day.

We all want convenience. Tangram has a fleet of 12 vans to make life as convenient as possible for those we serve. The money we raise during the 25 Days of Tangram will help cover the cost of transportation, so that our clients can get to jobs, volunteer positions, community activities, family gatherings, church, etc.  Consider donating to Tangram today and ensure that these things happen for our clients.  Donate to Tangram



Donate to Tangram


Comments Off on What would I do if my car broke down?

Filed under Community, Disability, Giving, Impact

Volunteering is easier than selling grapefruit

Become part of the potential…

“If you ever need a helping hand, it is at the end of your arm. As you get older you must remember you have a second hand. The first one is to help yourself. The second hand is to help others.” –Audrey Hepburn

You wouldn’t believe how many volunteer appreciation quotes there are. Today is Friday, so yes, I had to seek wisdom from somewhere outside of my own cubicle. And who better to quote than the lovely Audrey Hepburn?

I spent 12 years of my life going to Catholic schools. As a result, there was a span of time when I thought that all skirts were gray and brown plaid with accordion pleat. Another side effect of my Catholic education was that I had to change my middle name to Fundraiser. Sooner than I could write my name, I was calling relatives and asking them to sponsor walks and buy cookie dough, citrus fruit, perennials, poinsettias, pumpkins, cookies, raffle tickets, and basically anything else I could peddle. But perhaps the greatest imprint that those 12 years could have left on my life is that they taught me the importance of volunteerism and shaped me into a volunteer.

If you are a volunteer, you probably don’t realize just how valuable you are, but I am here to tell you that a good volunteer is downright irreplaceable. Time is a valuable resource—and volunteers give it away for FREE!

There are many reasons that one might volunteer: school credit, something to do to feel useful, fulfilling a sense of duty to give back to the community, a way to give in lieu of money, or, according to one little boy, who was asked why he wanted to volunteer, “Because it makes you feel good in your heart.”

Whatever your reason, just know that volunteers are vital parts of the community. When you volunteer, you enable an organization, a group of people, a community to reach its full potential. If you would like to learn more about Tangram’s volunteer opportunities call me at 968-9048.  



Learn more about Tangram

Comments Off on Volunteering is easier than selling grapefruit

Filed under Community, Disability, Giving, Humor

The Art of Impact

The possibilities are endless…

Impact. A small-ish word with a big-ish meaning. Everyone (and by “everyone” I mean “everyone with money to give away”) is looking to make a BIG impact. It is a buzzword these days. Impact is knocking down all ten bowling pins instead of just one. Impact is the 1 million dollar gift that builds a brand new building. You get the idea: impact makes a tangible difference. Sometimes, I find myself thinking, “Well, I can only give $25 this month. Organization XYZ probably won’t miss my donation, especially since they just got a big donation from that foundation. What difference does my $25 make, anyway?”

As even a novice in development (such as myself) will tell you, impact can start with the smallest of actions. Think about ripples (yes, everyone uses this particular analogy, but humans just ‘get’ water metaphors). A single drop of rain hits a pond and the water immediately reacts in a series of small concentric waves. The ripples grow, one after the next, and are soon spread out over the whole pond. If a single drop of rain can affect an entire pond, imagine what a single person can do for an organization, a community, the world! In short, the possibilities are endless, even (or perhaps, especially) for those $25 gifts. It isn’t the amount (though it is nice to receive the occasional $1 million gift) because every dollar counts.

Try not to dwell on size next time you donate. Your $25 gift will have an immediate impact in the lives of the people we serve. And making a positive change in one person’s life is the best kind of impact you can have.



Learn more about Tangram 

Comments Off on The Art of Impact

Filed under Community, Disability, Giving, Impact