A Night to “Toast to the Girls”

By Josi Toothman, Edge of Seven Guest Blogger

Welcome- photo credit Anne Bannister

Over 100 people came out Thursday June 28th to Battery 621 in Denver for the “Toast to the Girls” event, raising $3,000 for Edge of Seven’s Community Development Program. After an initial welcome from Edge of Seven Director Emily Stanley and board member Julia Alvarez, those who attended mingled, shared stories of social impact, and ate delicious food. Sherpa House in Golden, Nepal India Oven and Lalas provided appetizers, while Great Divide, Funkwerks, and Infinite Monkey Theorem, Classic Wines, sponsored beverages.  The energy in the room was filled with both excitement and curiosity as attendants who had previously been involved with Edge of Seven discussed their experiences with those still learning about the organization. Phrases like, “Lifechanging”, “Absolutely Incredible”, and “So Beautiful,” could be heard as those who had previously volunteered with Edge of Seven described their experience in Nepal.

Delicious- photo credit Anne Bannister

In between the socializing and educating Edge of Seven drew tickets for winners of various raffle prizes. The raffle was a great success with individual prizes including one month free yoga from Core Power, gift certificates from Linger, skirts for outdoor girls from Jen-ai Skirts, and ski poles from Icelantic, to name a few.  The grand prize of the evening was a one night stay and dinner at the Oxford.

The premiere of “The Mountain Between Us” photo credit Anne Bannister

Midway through the evening Edge of Seven debuted their recently produced short film, The Mountain Between Us, a documentary which gives a glimpse into the lives and struggles of women in rural Nepal and the opportunities created for them by projects completed by organizations like Edge of Seven. Everyone watched in silence as Junu and Purnima, two young women featured in the film, talked about their desire to continue their education and their dreams to help their villages.

At the end of the evening Katie Donahue, who has been involved with Edge of Seven for the past year, and who recently volunteered on Edge of Seven’s Basa project in Nepal, came to the stage to deliver the toast that had brought everyone together. Katie spoke of her experience working with children with big dreams who but faced many obstacles. Katie told how, like most people at the event, she was told she could be whatever she wanted to be when she grew up and was encouraged to pursue her dreams. It was a reminder to everyone that many children in the developing world, especially girls, grow up knowing that their dreams of becoming a ballerina, firefighter, or pilot may always be just that, dreams. It is by the efforts of organizations like Edge of Seven along with individual volunteers to educate and empower girls that they may be able to see their dreams become reality. With that, everyone raised their glass and gave a united, “Toast to the Girls.”

A Toast to the Girls – photo credit Anne Bannister

Running for a Reason

by Tamara A.

Since I graduated from high school, it has definitely been more of a challenge to get myself to go to the gym, participate in as much physical activity, or just stay in shape.  It is so easy to put things off.  I’ll start that work out plan tomorrow.  I’ll start eating better tomorrow.  I run that first mile tomorrow.  Before I know it, two months have passed and my running shoes are still sitting in the same place and the refrigerator inhabitants haven’t become any greener or healthier.  In high school, it was just so easy…mostly because there were outside enforcers: coaches, teammates, parents.  Everything was organized for me; I just had to show up at the place and time that I was told and someone determined how rigorous my workout was for me.  And while I bitched about practicing then, I would love to have that now.

After my first year in college, I realized that the very occasional workout combined with late night fast food runs and increase in beer intake was not the best plan for being a healthy, feeling-good person.  My friend and I randomly decided to sign up for the Chicago half marathon for the next fall.  While we put off our first until “tomorrow” for a couple months, eventually we started our morning runs that evolved into a 6 days a week routine for a few months.  It felt great.  And the fact that I had committed to a race with a friend really pushed me to keep with it for three reasons: I had someone relying on me to be there, I had paid a registration fee (money cannot go to waste as a poor college student), and I had a goal with an actual end date.  So I had found my new forms of motivation.

I have since used these motivators to run a handful of other races and keep pushing myself.  Recently, Erin presented me with another race opportunity:  the Denver Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon on October 9th.  She told me that she is seeking a team of 20 runners to complete the race on behalf of Edge of Seven, asking each team member to raise $1,000.  If running as a representative for a nonprofit like Edge of Seven isn’t enough motivation to get me moving, I don’t know what would be.  Here is the unfortunate part of the situation…I can’t do it.  Not because of lack of desire (I really wish I could!), but because I will be out of town.  Damn.

Here is where the rest of you come in.  Erin is only one member and, while she has recruited a few others, there are several open spots on the Edge of Seven running team.  In this next year, we have a 5-city series of projects starting that are requiring funding and support.  Help us to make others aware of our mission and raise funds to put these projects into full swing.

The registration deadline to participate on Edge of Seven’s team is August 15th, 2011. Participants can choose whether they prefer to run the half or full marathon. We’d like to see Edge of Seven runners raise $1,000 a piece to support our program. Please email Emily at Emily@edgeofseven.org to complete a race entry form and join our team today!

Cocktails and Causes

A few years ago, I only went to fundraisers if a cute guy was going to be there.  The acceptable ticket price was directly related to the cute factor.  Over the past few years, my life has changed dramatically and now I’M the one hosting three fundraisers in three weeks in three cities throughout the U.S.  This blog will appeal to the Erin of five years past. 

Last week, the Ritz Carlton in L.A. generously donated space so we could talk about social change with views of the Hollywood Hills.  Tomorrow night, at the Translations Gallery in downtown Denver, we will enjoy art, a short film about our work in Nepal, and a testimonial from a volunteer who spent 6 weeks in Nepal.  Finally, next week on April 14th, we’ll close out the tour with Nepali dancing and festivities in Wilmington, DE at Kooma on the Waterfront

There are a million fantastic causes to support these days so I’d like to give you five reasons why you should pay $25 at the door for an Edge of Seven event.

  1. Your entrance fee buys you a drink and some snacks.  A tax deductible cocktail?!?  That’s my kind of party.
  2. 100% of donations go directly to support projects in rural Nepal.  Your donation isn’t paying my salary.  It’s building a dorm so that 40 girls have opportunity to sit in an 11th grade classroom.
  3. There will be cute boys.  And, cute girls.  Some may even be single.  Watch out Match.com.  We’re throwing our hat in the ring.
  4. Adventure travel, and more specifically service travel, is on the rise.  I’ve been fortunate enough to travel the world and there is no more rewarding experience than working side-by-side a community and living like a local to work towards a common goal that will bring REAL change to a village.  It doesn’t hurt that the Himalayas are the backdrop.
  5. Raffles and Silent Auctions.  In Denver and Wilmington, we have gifts galore for the taking.  Want spa packages, race entries, or free months of yoga?!?  I do.

If you need more convincing, drop me an email at erin@edgeofseven.org.  I’d love to see you tomorrow in Denver or on the 14th in Wilmington.

What do Obama, Delaware, and Edge of Seven have in common?

It’s an exciting week in Delaware!  Last night, Republican Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell, the tea-party sensation, and Chris Coons faced off in a nationally televised debate at the University of Delaware.  Nancy Karibjanian, of Delaware First Media, was co-moderator with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.  I learned a few things: both the national media and Delaware media dislike Christine, Coons is not a Marxist, and O’Donnell is not a witch.  I’m still left wondering how they are going to bring jobs to Delaware but hey, they attacked the real issues.

Tomorrow, President Obama and Vice President Biden fly into town for a fundraiser in Wilmington to try to keep Biden’s old Senate seat in Democratic party hands.  This will be Biden’s third visit home to help Coon’s bid.  I feel for my brother and sister-in-law who are flying into Philly around the same time.  Anyone who has flown into, out of, or through the Philadelphia airport knows that the staff there deal extraordinarily well with people, security, and stress.  Dan and Lilly, see you on Sunday.

And finally, the event that trumps all events, tonight’s Edge of Seven Fundraiser at Deerfield Fine Wines!  I invited Obama and Biden but have not heard back.  Perhaps they will surprise us. 

For a mere $10 donation at the door, your contribution supports an incredible cause AND you gain access to the following:

  1. A wine tasting!
  2. A stacked raffle.  We are giving away: gift cards to Grassroots, Best Buy, California Tortilla, Harry’s Savoy Grille, and the Platinum Group.  We are auctioning a gift basket of treasures from Peru, an REI backpack, spots at the Argentine Tango Wine Dinner, a haircut, and a flambeau porcelain bowl.  I will be bidding on everything.
  3. Guest speakers Marilyn and David Dickey will be sharing the highlights of their experience this summer in Nepal.
  4. Networking galore!  We have UD students, business owners, politicians, educators, and professionals from all walks of life at the event.  Bring your business cards.
  5. Wine.  Stock up for the holidays!

I hope to see you tonight!  If you can’t make it, but would like to contribute, please visit http://www.crowdrise.com/edgeofseven.

Calling Austin and Boston! Come out!

Last night, I was due to speak at REI in Hingham, MA about volunteering abroad.  I was planning to talk about the types of international service projects available in developing countries, what to expect once you are living and volunteering overseas, and how to get started in planning your adventure. 

It was like the scene of a blind date gone awry.  I’m standing at the front of the room, watching the clock tick minute by minute past 6:30p.  I sift through my papers for the 4th time to make sure I feel good with my content.  I hear a noise and look up at the door hopefully only to discover that someone shut the door to the bathroom outside. 

I’ll blame it on the rain.  Of course, the sky opened up 20 minutes before my presentation was due to start and you could barely see five feet in front of you.  And, if you are familiar with Boston, you know the traffic situation heading on 93S during rush hour.  It was worse than usual.  It’s the days when I’m sitting in hail in gridlock when I really miss New England. 

The silver lining in this story is that you have another chance to learn about volunteering abroad TONIGHT at the REI in Boston!  We don’t want to recreate the scene of last night people.

If you are in Austin, swing by Molotov at 6p for our Nepal Building Project Fundraiser.  Austin-based Ariel Abshire will be performing to support the cause.