Sunday, June 19, 2016

Here's What Others Have Been Saying About Jo

When Jo signed up to go to Guatemala, I don't think she realized just exactly what she was getting herself into. To be more specific, when she decided to raise $19,000 to drill a well for the village, I don't think she realized how much work it would be to raise that much money.

Thank goodness she had plenty of people to help her out along the way. Every part of the fundraiser was a new experience for Jo, and she ran into a lot of challenges along the way. While she's not the shy, retiring type, Jo's also not a social butterfly and there were many parts to this fundraiser that pushed her way out of her comfort zone.

When they first started, Mom and Jo had no idea where the fundraiser was going to go, or even how to run one. But not knowing what she's doing has never stopped Mom and she reached out to various people she knows who have done these kinds of things, got some tips and ideas, and was put in touch with other influential people who were able to help spread the news of the fundraiser even further.

And Jo, as the center of the whole operation, got to be involved in every single part of it. Guess who wrote the fundraising letters that got mailed to everyone in Mom's address book? Jo.

Guess who went door to door in town and solicited donations from businesses there? Jo (although she had help from Mom on that one).

And guess who got to be in the spotlight when the local news groups came knocking and asking for interviews?

You guessed it: dear old Jo.
Let's just say that in the past few months, Jo has gotten much better at talking to people about her trip and smiling for pictures.
Big smile, Jo!
One of the first things Jo did, after writing her fundraiser letters, was to write a news release about her plans to drill a well and send it out to most of the TV stations, newspapers, and radio stations in our area. We hoped we would get a couple responses that would help us expand our audience and reach a wider audience. What we got was more than we expected though–and probably a little more than Jo was prepared for. Since the news release went out, she's done five interviews, been on TV at least three times, and even on the radio.

I confess to feeling just a little outmatched by my little sister sometimes.

Here are some of the links to the stories on Jo and her well fundraiser. First, KIMT news aired a piece on the project and put a video out on their website HERE. KTTC also aired a story, but they've only kept a short write-up on Jo and the silent auction we did on their website, which you can see HERE. The Spring Vally Tribune did an article on Jo's fundraiser and upcoming trip in late March which you can see HERE. Shortly after that the Rochester Post-Bulletin published a piece which can be found HERE. There was also a last-minute radio interview that was scheduled about twelve hours in advance. Definitely interrupted our day a little when Mom and Jo had to run out in a hurry, but no one really cared.

With five interviews under her belt, I would say Jo's pretty much a veteran at this business now, but it hasn't been something she's enjoyed immensely. Like I said, she's not a social butterfly and being in the spotlight so much and in front of so many people made her very uncomfortable. There were a couple times when she almost decided to live under a rock for the rest of her life and never see anyone ever again. But she stuck it out, did the interviews, talked to people, and did her bit for the fundraiser. And although I can barely believe I'm saying this...she did a really fantastic job.
Because work kept me out of the house and busy when big things were happening, I was only tangentially involved in the whole fundraiser campaign, but I still had ringside seats for a lot of exciting things. I was (unfortunately) unable to be present for any of her interviews, but I did get to watch Jo write addresses on literally hundreds of envelopes, master the art of licking envelopes, and wear her fingers out sticking on stamps.

If that's not thrilling, I don't know what is.

I also got to watch her run around getting ready for the silent auction, crunching numbers with Mom to figure out how many dollars they had left to raise, and generally just freaking out about the whole thing.
 After a couple months of this, Jo felt the spotlight had been on her long enough. Actually, after just a few days of it, Jo was saying "I'm pretty sure I didn't sign up for all this!" and Mom and Dad were saying "We're pretty sure you did." She stuck it out, but she was thrilled when all the fundraiser business was over with and the well was paid for. Then all she had to worry about was boarding the plane for Guatemala–her first flight and her first time outside the USA.

She's still trying to forget that people are going to want to come back for post-trip interviews to talk about how things went in Guatemala. As far as she's concerned, her five minutes of fame are up and she's ready to go back to being an obscure home school kid who doesn't have her name in every paper in the area. Eventually someone will probably have to tell her "this is just part of being a celebrity" and to get used to it. That's not my job, though. I'll just keep on doing my blogging thing and let her figure it out for herself.

That's what big sisters are for, after all.


  1. I'm so glad that she didn't crawl under that rock but continued to persevere even when it wasn't very comfortable.

    The writer and the philanthropist -- oh, how I adore both of you! :)

  2. Will be interested as to how many want an interview after and how it goes!

    1. I hope to keep track of that and post about it when it happens, so stay tuned for that hopefully in next few weeks (depending on how fast people get in touch with us).