For The Kids

You might have heard, you know, in the last few years, that I have been raising money for the Children's Miracle Network Hospital in Vermont (the University of Vermont's Children's Hospital, literally, in my back yard.) 

And you might have let all the pleas for money run over your heard and out of your newsfeed, which I totally understand. Sometimes it feels like everyone is asking for money for something, right?

I get that. To some extent that's probably true. And that's probably how I've raised more than $5,000 for the children and families in Vermont since joining the Miss Vermont program. 

This year though has been different. This year, I get to work with the hospital, and with the families they serve to raise even more money.

Actually, to raise $314,667.16. With one gigantic, state-wide, community-driven fundraiser. 

And it all starts with coins. 

Seriously. Change, pocket change. The stuff you get after bag of Cheez Itz  and a bottle of water at the gas station. The change from grabbing some deodorant, and a box of K-cups at Wal-Mart. The change that you dig out of your pocket for the Boy Scouts who so politely greet you. 

It's just a whole bunch of change. Pounds and pounds of change. 

That add up to more than three. hundred. thousand. dollars.

Change that lets families who have to be in the Emergency Department, visit with doctors in a quiet, kid-friendly space. Change that gives the hospital the chance to fund the position of child life specialists. Change that makes sure there are fresh toys, art supplies, and home-like spaces in the hospital, year round. 

I cannot even explain how real the change is, because people give us their coins.

I can't even count how many people give their time and their energy to pool tournaments, bake sales, chili cook-offs, crazy hair days, free services, auctions, dances, craft fairs, and every other thing you could imagine, to pull in those dollars.

I am not exaggerating when I say this spans the entire state. This is for every kid that has to visit the hospital in Burlington. This is for every family that has to go through that horrifying process. This is for everyone. Because when we keep the care local, we keep the care the best.

It is easy to look at this as just a fundraiser. It is easy to say, that doesn't affect me, but that's nice. 

But when you meet these families, when you meet these kids - when you realize that they could be anyone you know - you get it.

It just clicks. And you get why people come back, year after year, with pounds and pounds of coins. 

Because it makes a big change. 

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