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Collaboration·Community Development·CU4Kids

Cheeseheads raise over $10k for CMNH

It’s not often you see competing businesses and community members work together for a common goal, but every year since 2003 that’s exactly what we do during the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMNH) Bowl-A-Thon.

The South Central Chapter of Credit Unions (SCCCU) recruited approximately 12 teams to participate in the 10th Annual CMNH Bowl-A-Thon and Silent Auction fundraiser on February 2nd. We are pleased to announce that together we raised a total of $10,832.76 for CMNH. Our gratitude goes to the sponsors, participants and volunteers that made this possible.

A portion of the monies raised were by the bowlers themselves as they asked friends and family to contribute pledges for the cause. Kristy Benedetti from Blackhawk Community Credit Union was our top fundraiser collecting more than $1,400.

The fun didn’t end at bowling. Throughout the day bowlers participated in 50/50 raffles and door prize raffles. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the Bowl-A-Thon, Silent Auction and Raffles go directly to the local  CMN Hospital for the treatment of children with all types of afflictions, including cancer, accidents, muscle and heart disease, AIDS, cystic fibrosis and trauma.

Over the past ten years, the event has raised over $120,000!

The South Central Chapter of Credit Unions includes the following credit unions: Blackhawk Community CU, Educational Employees CU, First American CU of First Community Federal CU, First Community CU of Beloit, Fort Community CU, Municipal CU, Parker Community CU, Teachers CU, and University of Wisonsin CU of Whitewater.

South Central Chapter of CU’s Board Members Presenting the proceeds to the Children’s Miracle Network and the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.

 

Collaboration·CU4Kids

Celebration 2012

Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMNHs) were founded with two simple goals in mind.

  1. Help as many children as possible by raising funds for children’s hospitals, and
  2. Keep funds in the community in which they were raised to help local children.

With these simple goals in mind, CMNHs have grown since 1983 to raise over 4.3 billion dollars; most of which was donated a few dollars at a time.

Each year, CMNHs bring together sponsors, donors, health care professionals, and Champions to their “Celebration.” Celebration showcases how the contributions of these stakeholders impact the lives of Champions from each state and Canadian providence. The “Champions” are children ranging from 4 to 17 who have been inflicted with live threatening diseases treated at one of the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Their stories include heartbreak, bravery, and triumph.

Through a partnership between the Southeastern Credit Union Foundation, Credit Unions for Kids, and the LSCU Young Professionals Group, four young credit union professionals were able to attend and participate in the Celebration festivities. The attendees were Meghan Storck, Business Development Specialist at First Florida Credit Union, Michael Molaka, Chief Operations Officer at Bright Star Credit Union, Rob Lefkowicz, Service Center Manager at Suncoast Schools FCU, and Sean Flynn, AVP Member Consumer Loans at GTE Financial.

Three events that exemplify the purpose of Celebration are the opening, champion pinning, and medal ceremonies. The power and impact of these ceremonies struck to the core of each of the young professionals in attendance.

The opening ceremonies featured the Champions arrival and telling of their personal stories. Hearing the challenges and struggles of these children was heartbreaking and inspiring to all in attendance. The experiences that the children and families spoke of strengthened our commitment to the efforts that credit unions do for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Mike Molaka said of his experience:

The personal testimonies of grateful families really moved me…I will continue to be part of this organization and do whatever I can to help these young kids and their families.

Meghan Storck said of the Champion Pinning Ceremony:

The lights went out, music turned up, and Champions rolled out of the tunnel waving, clapping, spinning- pumped up for the day! It was something special!

After the grand introduction, the Champions took their place at individual autograph tables to allow for interactions with the attendees. Each attendee was given a Champions log showing a picture and telling the stories of the children which was used to get autographs, stamps, and tokens from the Champions. It was humbling to walk up to a child and their family who have been stricken by terrible diseases and see the brightest smiles, happiness, and hope imaginable.

The Celebration Medal Ceremony proved to be a tear-jerking capstone to an amazing experience with the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. 66 Champions paraded into the banquet hall flanked by the likes of Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy to be recognized on stage to standing ovations. Sean Flynn wasn’t sure what to expect:

Touching, motivational, depressing; it was awe-inspiring!

The medals represent a triumph over life threatening diseases and the can-do attitude of these Champions.

The opportunity to be involved with Celebration has left these four young professionals with a sense of accomplishment, humility, and the desire to do more. In the coming months, the attendees will be champions spreading the reach of Credit Unions for Kids, promote fundraising, and making a difference in our local communities and credit unions. We are thankful for the opportunity of involvement from Credit Unions for Kids and the support of the Southeastern Credit Union Foundation. The benefits and experiences gained by these four young credit union professionals has and will be shared within our group across Alabama and Florida broadening the commitment to the credit union movement and our charitable partnerships.

Change·CU4Kids

CMNH Celebration Medal Ceremony

As if all of the other events at the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Celebration at Walt Disney World in Orlando weren’t moving enough, Friday night’s headliner event left not one dry eye in the house…

The Celebration Medal Ceremony was the capstone of the entire CMNH event.  Hosted by none other than Nick Cannon, the Medal Ceremony featured distinguished guests such as Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young, recording artist Jordin Sparks, CMNH founders John Schneider and Mick Shannon, and an array of corporate supporters like Delta Airlines and Walmart.

66 Champions, ranging in age from 4 – 17, and their families were led into the event by all of the Disney characters we’ve all come to love; from Mickey and Minnie, to Goofy and Pluto.  Once the event began, each of the Champions were called on stage in front of the hundreds of attendees to receive their medals.  Now, going into the event, this particular Crasher didn’t know what to expect; was it going to be a touching ceremony, a motivational ceremony, or perhaps depressing?  I left there with one thought in my mind, “awe-inspiring”.

Seeing these kids being recognized - kids who have been through so much, overcome so much adversity – really makes one rethink what’s important in life.  It makes you appreciate your health and value your family.  Exciting, inspring, motivating – these words really can’t describe how we all felt when we left this event.

So after all of this, the question was, “now what do we do?”  Without hesitation our little group of Crashers (@robertlefkowicz, @mstorck, @sflynn, and @mmolakas) went to work.  As of today, we’ve started reaching out within our organizations, to our local league and to some smaller, less involved credit unions to join us in making a difference in the lives of these children and their families.

If you have any questions or want to here more about CU4Kids or Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, please feel free to give any of the above Crashers a shout.

Collaboration·CU4Kids

Champion Pinning Ceremony

Lights, camera, action!

The lights went out, music turned up, Champions rolled out of the tunnel, circling the room, waving, clapping, spinning – pumped up for game day! Their tunnel was the hallway and game day the pinning ceremony. They had more energy than any football game I’ve ever attended. The Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Celebration Pinning Ceremony was something special.

The pinning ceremony is the part of the Celebration where all Champions – children from all 50 states and around Canada, come to exchange their pins, sign their autograph, and share a little bit about themselves.

We were given a square book, completely filled with each Champions’ story and photo. We quickly learned to not read these during the pinning ceremony due to uncontrollable tears that followed reading their stories. We needed a new word for amazing because these Champions are so much more than that.

As we all walked around, talking to different families and meeting the Champions, we were beyond humbled. What do we say to these Champions? These kids have been through so much, yet have the prettiest smiles and way about them you have ever seen. The most touching part was that these Champions’ smiles were more than contagious and before you knew it, they had you laughing and smiling through the tears of their stories. Where do they get this precious gift?  (Tears as I write)

As the ceremony went on, we all found ourselves talking about these Champions, bragging on who we had met and hoping to meet the Champions we didn’t. It was amazing to meet them. We were all so touched  by each of their stories.

To actually see in person what CMNH does, the  impact CU4Kids makes,  and all the hard work from everyone  touching so many precious lives was indescribable. I found this quote and it summed up our experience, “The soul is healed by being with children.”  The Champions touched our souls that day.

 

 

 

 

 

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