Monday, April 19, 2010

Why We Walk: Bakery Edition

By day, Meilan Chinn is the Payroll Manager here at YAI and is distinguished at the coffee machine by her million-volt smile. But Meilan doesn't stop working for YAI when she goes home at night. For many years, she has harnessed her passion for baking into the beloved Sweet Treat of the Week fundraiser at YAI's Central Office. Over the years, Meilan's Sweet Treats have raised thousands of dollars for the Central Park Challenge and now she's spreading her message of generosity and compassion to the youngsters in her life.

Since my Sweet Treats and home-made baked goods have been in such high demand at YAI, my trips for supplies have become more and more frequent. So much so that my weekend visits to my nephews, Christopher and Nicky, began to include routine trips to Walmart and Sam's Club to replenish the candy, flour, sugar, butter and eggs I need to keep Sweet Treats alive. After the first few trips of "massive candy and treats" buying, the boys started to question why I am "always" buying so much stuff. So I explained to them that I do a lot of fundraising for the organization that I work for, which is a great cause because it helps children (and I said children so they could relate) who a have learning disabilities and need extra help. 

Immediately, they jumped the gun and laid the guilt trip on me: "So you are buying all this stuff for other children and not us?" Ever since that comment, I've been trying to explain to them what fundraising means and how it makes me feel to be a part of something so worthwhile, but of course kids will be kids and every time we made that trip to Walmart I hear the same old thing: "She loves them more than us."

Finally, last year, I asked the boys if they would like to come to the Central Park Challenge and walk with me and meet some of these "other" children of mine and the little one, Nicky, said "yes." He woke up at the crack of dawn, my brother dropped him off at my house and we rode the subway in, he did the walk, participated in the activities, met tons of YAI staff and participants.

At the end of the day on our way home, Nicky (holding the banner in the picture) turned to me and said, "Now, I understand why you do it, I wanna help, can I come back next year and do this with you again?"

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