Will you say yes?
As I mentioned in our year end letter, 2020 was the most financially challenging year in our history due to the loss of our two largest fundraisers. There were moments when we literally didn’t know how we were going to make it. However, Five Star Life finished 2020 strong thanks to so many people who said “yes” to getting involved! Some doubled their monthly giving while others gave above and beyond what they’d given in the past. We saw people at ALL LEVELS (small and large) step up and give what they could say “yes” to.
As if the financial challenges caused by the pandemic weren’t enough, we also battled a leaky roof at our Five Star Life office in Elkhart. Every time it rained our office staff would have to put buckets out to catch water! To make matters worse, we didn’t have the funding to fix it, but in faith, knew we needed a solution. So, we tasked Tina, from our Business Office, with getting quotes from roofing companies across Michiana. Tina was diligent and had many different companies come out to give us quotes over a period of time. The last company to give us a quote was Green Improvements. I happened to be there the day the owner, Ben Schlabach, came to give us a quote.
He was on the roof much longer than planned. In my head I’m thinking, “This quote is going to be a doozy.” When Ben finally came down, he dropped a bombshell on Tina, telling her that we needed a complete overhaul of the roof that would cost upwards of $120,000. News like that felt like a punch in the stomach. When Tina finally caught her breath, Ben told her he figured a not-for-profit probably didn’t have $120,000 sitting around, so he was going to take it upon himself to find the necessary resources to fund the project for us. As a matter of fact, the reason he was up on the roof so long was because he was making phone calls to his competitors asking them to donate their labor for this special project. By the time he came down he had already secured enough verbal commitments to cover 100% of the labor!
Ben could have simply provided us with a quote and walked away. However, he said “yes” to getting the entire project (supplies and labor) donated. Was Ben looking for a charity project? No! He was compelled by the transformational impact FSL has on students and was willing to do something he had never done before: spearhead a huge project that would involve 30 companies. One person decided to pick up the phone and bring together companies across the country to gift us a new roof. No more leaks. No more buckets. No more interior damage. This is a testament to the impact one person can have when they simply say “yes.”
As an organization, we have been saying “yes” for 16 years! In my year end letter, I mentioned how at the height of the pandemic FSL said “yes” by offering our program virtually to schools across America for FREE. The school response was overwhelming. Teachers, principals, and social workers from Washington state to North Carolina registered for our free virtual lessons representing over 278,000 students across the US! Now that’s the power of “yes!” If you gave last year, your “yes” helped make this possible.
I’m writing you again at the beginning of 2021 because the coming months will reveal the social-emotional and physical damage done to kids in 2020 due to the pandemic. Hundreds of thousands of kids have not seen their teachers and coaches nor been in school in 9 months. Thousands of those kids are now further behind academically and scarred emotionally due to being trapped in unhealthy living situations. I believe 2020 will go down in history as the year America forgot about kids. However, we at Five Star Life are declaring 2021 to be the year of “yes” for kids and we need your help. We are unleashing MORE programs for MORE kids in MORE places than any other time in history. We are ramping up our efforts in schools and at Summit (our 300-acre training facility) to make sure schools and students have the resources they need to bounce back from what 2020 took out of them. We are having conversations with schools to bus students on a daily/weekly basis to Summit where we will teach them how to create a powerful and resilient mindset and teach them a physical skill (equine, archery, nature, etc.). As you read this letter, Five Star Life is advancing like never before. Our powerful programs are reaching school faculty, students, athletic departments, juvenile correction facilities, and anywhere else kids are! However, in order to do MORE, we need MORE people to say “yes”.
It has been inspiring to watch people like Ben come out of the woodwork to say “yes.” It’s almost as if their whole life was preparation for this moment in time to say “yes” to impacting kids. We’ve received phone calls and emails from people who were so inspired by what Ben did that they wanted to know how they could say “yes.” While FSL is committed to helping students find their “yes” we are equally committed to helping you find your “yes” in 2021. Imagine looking back knowing you maximized your impact where it mattered most, with our kids. Our collective “yes” is literally the difference between a student passing or failing classes, committing suicide or living, being depressed and anxious, or living free and pursing a purpose-filled life. Your “yes” can help bring the message and impact of FSL to a school near you. Your “yes” can help us with desperately needed infrastructure at Summit. I could lay out a menu of a hundred ways you could say “yes.” However, I want to keep this very simple. You can say “yes” by making a donation of any amount. It can be large or small. It can be a one-time gift, or it can be spread out over time. Your donation can provide camp scholarships for kids, bring FSL to a school near you, or build a building. In short, there are a variety of ways your donation can say “yes” to kids. Some of you already have a number in mind. The other option is to explore your “yes” with me. This is for those who want to say “yes” but are unsure of what you want your time or money to say “yes” to. You want to learn more about our most pressing needs or maybe you want to say “yes” in a way that leaves a legacy but want to dive deeper into our vision. There are few things more fulfilling in life than discovering how your time, treasure, and talent can be used to transform a generation. If this is you, I would love to meet with you and explore your “yes” together. Call me at 574.266.4038 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I believe 2021 is going to be a phenomenal year for kids, a year of “yes”, and instead of leaving it to chance we have a laser-focused vision to make this happen and I believe it includes you. Thank you in advance for helping us say “yes” to kids in 2021.
Five Star Life