I was reading a book to my daughters the other night – Dr. Seuss’ Oh the Places You’ll Go – and the words in the story struck me:
You’re off to great places!
Today is your day.
Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!
Reflecting back, the feeling of being “off to great places” was exactly the feeling I had after our first Rock the 21 event a little more than three years ago. Our first gala was a love letter to our children and their friends to spread awareness. We would educate people on their greatness and how they were more like typical children than different. We would be their biggest advocates. And, we would celebrate the positive impacts they had on those around them. Key words that would later become the backbone of our future non-profit.
I thought our first gala would be just that – our first and only gala that we only had 10 weeks to plan. At the time, the words “Rock the 21” served simply as our tagline theme and we hoped to raise $21,000. However, we didn’t just raise $21,000. We raised more than $21,000 before the event even happened! And we ended up making more than $50,000 that year.
Because of your support, I walked away knowing Rock the 21 was more than just words and a theme to a gala – but now the start of an organization that could create positive change. We could Educate. We could Advocate. We could Celebrate. And, we could do SO MUCH MORE.
Three galas and three years later, we have! From providing scholarships for babies with DS such that they receive critically important early intervention therapies, to purchasing educational books for local libraries and schools, to also hosting a seminar on innovative classroom inclusion strategies for more than 20 school districts. We were also able to fund and start our “Rock the World” initiative, where we had the opportunity to visit and donate to an orphanage in Nicaragua that cares for children with DS, to also funding a life-saving heart surgery for a child with DS in Africa.
This Journey of Great Places could not have happened without the support from all of you. And this journey will continue thanks to your support in helping to once again sell out our gala and raise nearly $60,000.
Thank you for supporting and making a mom feel like the mountain I once thought was unimaginable and something I could not possibly take on, now be a journey I’m so thankful to have and a mountain I get to climb and successfully jump over every day. Thank you for loving and supporting Rock the 21 – you help us rock every day!
- Beth Freeman