Thursday, April 5, 2012

Finding the Bodies

I've spent the morning trying to find the bodies. The ideas are in place.  The programs have been vetted and organized and created and advertised.  Where are the humans?

It's not just Pilates at the middle school that's giving me trouble.  My girlfriend has a fundraiser scheduled for Monday and she's having the same issues. Everyone is interested.  No one signs up.

It's hard to stay focused when your dream is evolving but the people are no where to be found.  It's hard to maintain enthusiasm when people don't participate.  One begins to doubt the wisdom of the entire endeavor.When that endeavor is part and parcel of who you have become, as it is for my friend, the wounds are much deeper. 

I used to laugh when I'd enter a room for a new project only to see the same 12 faces I saw around every other table for every other project I was doing at the same time.  We weren't all stay-at-home-moms, we weren't all looking for a way to fill our free time, we weren't all alike in very many ways at all, except for the most important way - we were willing to show up.

It's tempting to wait til the very last moment before sending that RSVP; how do I know that I'll want to go to that fundraising dinner when next Monday rolls around?  Do I really want to commit myself to an event that is not mandatory?  I'm sure that's what's filtering through the minds of those we invite, of those we ask, of those to whom we offer our programs.  I've tried bribery and time-shifting and reminder calls and funny emails .... all with the same result.  No one shows up.

I'm left to wonder: where are the bodies?

I don't do meetings and I don't waste my time.  I want to be busy from the moment I arrive until the moment it is time for me to leave.  Knowing that, I arrange my opportunities to provide the same level of support that I demand when I volunteer.  So far, I've been lucky. The grown-ups have responded with enthusiasm and delight.  Getting the kids to participate has been another story entirely.  Focus groups, snacks, free clothes..... nothing seems to motivate them to get involved.

I've solved my problem by taking the program into the structure of a PE class; there is no opting out of this requirement.  My public/private partnership is intact and I am a happy girl.  The students who could not be induced to attend a no-cost after-school pilates class are more than happy to escape their conditioning and weight training PE to participate in pilates. 

My project goes forward but my question remains - how do we find the bodies?

My girlfriend will have to cancel the fundraiser if she can't find 70 people to join her for dinner.  Social media and personal appeals are flying furiously through the ether but the result is disappointing.  It's not a pricey ticket.... she's a popular person.... her story is touching.... the cause is good... why isn't there more buzz?

I tried to create that excitement to lunch in the cafeteria at the middle school by bringing the Pilates toys - magic circles and rollers - and my laptop with videos of teens enjoying themselves while following the program. The kids had fun playing with them and hearing about the benefits that would accrue from participation in the activity.  The free t-shirts and trip to the UofA were mighty inducements as well.... or so I thought.  But, after 2 lunchtimes and many posters and several announcements and active solicitation by interested educators, our voluntary program had 2 girls show up... once... though 8 had enrolled for the 10 class program.

Disappointed?  For sure.  Giving up?  Not a chance.  We were lucky to find a PE teacher to take us under his wing, and we'll get to do our good deeds in spite of the notable lack of enthusiasm for our original notion.  The bodies didn't find us; we went to them.

That doesn't help Roxanna with her dinner on Monday night, though.  The whole town was captivated by her story and the good deeds she's done in the 15 months since Christina-Taylor's death.  People line up to have her sign her book and to give and receive her hugs.  This small event, offered by a friendly restauranteur and designed for joy and fun and a little bit of money-raising, this tiny piece of her life, this unremarkable dinner party is woefully undersubscribed.  Everyone thought it was a great idea; no one is putting their money where their mouths should be.

I have no solutions.  I've just got the problem.  If you're in Tucson next Monday and would like to join us, I've copied the flyer below.  I can't promise that the event will happen - the food must be ordered by Friday and right now there aren't enough attendees to make it worthwhile. 

Come if you can.  We'd love to see you.  And, if you have any ideas about where the people are, share them in the comments below.  We can't be the only two women with this issue on our plates right now.

Do you live in Tucson?  Do you want to have dinner with me on Monday night?
It's pricey, but not overly so, and it certainly benefits a worthy cause.
Reservations must be made by Friday, April 6th at noon.

MONDAY, APRIL 9th, 2012
For A Very Special Evening!
will host a fundraising dinner
With Silent Auction
in support of
The Christina-Taylor Green Memorial Foundation

The Christina-Taylor Green Memorial Foundation
was established to galvanize projects in our community
that reflect Christina’s interests, values and dreams including:

Educational funding for children and their families that are deemed less fortunate

Leadership programs that promote awareness and hope to those who strive to achieve

Scholastic activities throughout our community that promote a positive influence to our youth.

The evening will feature a Silent Auction and an all-inclusive specially prepared dinner menu. 

Cocktail Hour from 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM: Bruscetta Traditional, Bruscetta Tapenade, Fried Calamari, and Stuffed Mushrooms

Dinner from 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM Mixed Green Salad, choice of entree: Chicken Marsala, Lasagna Bolognese or Whitefish Picatta

Dessert Buffet from 7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
: Selection of gourmet cupcakes, mini heart cakes and Vanilla Custard Cups, Coffee and Tea

Only $75.00 per person!!

*Price includes
4 course meal, soft drinks, tax, gratuity,
a $25.00 per-person donation to the foundation.
Alcohol purchases will be the responsibility of each patron,
but 20% of all liquor sales will be donated to the foundation that evening!


  1. Around here, that is spring break for a lot of people. Also, none of the entrees is vegetarian, much less vegan, which could be an issue for some people. And maybe the price is a bit high for normal people, especially for two? And finally, people are just too darn busy to add one more thing in the evenings. I have heard that a lot when trying to schedule things, and even I am inclined to avoid evening meetings and events most nights. Hope this helps. xoxo

  2. All valid points..... the restaurant has to cover its costs by dedicating the night to the event and that adds to the $$$ness. I agree about night, too. I can barely make it to my own dinner table sometimes :)

  3. First I've heard of the dinner down here in time maybe get in in the Tucson Weekly and/or whatever it is the Star is calling their calendar these days? Just a excuse season and boy could I use a spring break...

  4. I hope it's a HuGe success!!! Hopefully, it has been widely advertised. What an awesome cause. Sending LoVe!

  5. I agree with you, Suz, that something has happened, something has changed. I see it in the places I volunteer, at the kid's school, and even in the workplace. People SEEM interested but their follow through stinks. And it's not just financial, because sometimes it is a matter of donating time. We are all so buried in our own obligations, I suppose, that even just one more thing seems overwhelming. When did we all get so busy?

  6. is it busy or self-absorbed? Is it the adult version of "I am good enough and I get a trophy?"


Talk back to me! Word Verification is gone!