Join “Team Bud” at Family Matters Walk-A-Thon, Saturday morning, May 21st
Around a year ago, after completing my first year on the Board of Family Matters, the organization’s founder, Executive Director, Kim DeLong, pulled me aside after a Board meeting, making a request.
“Mike. There is a young man who has been in our program for over ten years. His name is Thomas Sanders, but we all know him as “Bud.” He’s a fabulous 18 year old – so hard working and he is so dependable. He cares so much. He would really benefit if someone like you could be a friend and a mentor for him.”
Those of you familiar with Kim know that her requests cannot easily go unmet (if Kim wasn’t a minister, I’d swear that she has ‘Jewish mother’ blood in her!). Therefore, slowly, over the course of the past year, during which time Bud was actually awarded a seat on the Family Matter’s Board, I have been a friend and a mentor for Bud.
I’ve taken him to a White Sox game; my son and his buddy took Bud for an overnight trip to Michigan; I convinced one of my maintenance guys to offer Bud part time work last summer, a job requiring Bud to travel ninety minutes using two trains; an opportunity that Bud enthusiastically embraced, even though his day’s wages often barely met the cost of his travels.
A month or so ago, Bud called me and he asked if we could meet. He sounded a bit anguished. The next day we met at a restaurant, to talk.
Already, I was wondering what was on Bud’s mind. Was it problems with school? Family problems? Who knows? Given the array of challenges that a 19 year old might have growing up near Paulina and Jonquil, it could be anything.
“Mike,” he said. “Its about Family Matters.”
I looked at him wondering what it could be.
“At last week’s Board meeting everyone spoke about the mission of Family Matters. The mission statement that the Board proposed is way too long and it doesn’t really explain what Family Matters is all about.”
I continued to look at him, so impressed that he cared so much.
“They won’t use the word “safe” when describing what Family Matters is. But “safe” is exactly what Family Matters has been for me since I started going there over ten years ago. It’s been a “safe place” for me to go after school.
“Also, they don’t use the words “North of Howard” in the statement. I don’t understand why not? Family Matters serves those of us who live here, providing a safe environment where we can hang out, get tutoring and do other stuff after school.
“I don’t know why we need a full paragraph to explain our Mission Statement. I can do it in two sentences.”
I asked Bud to do it, and he did - succinctly, and from the heart.
I then asked Bud if I could videotape him saying the same thing.
A couple of weeks later he came over to my office, and I shot the attached video of Bud, explaining why Family Matters is important to him.
Why all of this talk about Family Matters?
On Saturday morning, May 21st, Family Matters is having their big fundraiser of the year – our 22nd annual Walk-A-Thon.
This year’s Walk promises to be a true neighborhood event – one that everyone should try to attend.
A beautiful Spring Saturday – a five mile walk along the lakefront, followed by a community picnic.
Minimum cost is $20 per walker, but, given that this is a fundraiser, we encourage all walkers to get a few people to sponsor them and generate a few more dollars.
I can assure you that Family Matters devotes this money to good use: as Bud would say, helping create a safe environment for local children and their families – helping these kids develop strategies that will help them be successes in life.
In other words, funds raised will impact people who can become capable and caring members of the community – like Bud.
Bud and I have decided to create a special team, called “Team Bud.” Our slogan is “Bud Up.”
Be a part of “Team Bud.” Simply send me an email at “email@example.com” letting me know if you plan on walking, or tell me that you would simply like to contribute and tell me how much. (Or, go on line at www.familymatterschicago.org and make a contribution!)
Preferably, you’ll come and walk. Meet some nice people. Be a part of the community. Have fun. Be part of a special community celebration.
Hope to see you then.
Family Matters 22nd Annual Walk-A-Thon
Date: Saturday, May 21, 2011
Registration: 9:00 – 9:45 a.m.
Walk: 10:00 a.m.
Begins at: Gale Academy, 1631 W. Jonquil Chicago • located one block south of Family Matters and one block east of the Howard Street el stop (corner of Marshfield Avenue and Jonquil Terrace).
Concludes at: Willye B. White Park • A picnic will be waiting.
(Leave a Comment below if you want to offer your own impressions about Family Matters, or to announce your intention of joining “Team Bud.”)
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