My Second Anniversary By Alycia Kinney

As I close in on my 2nd Anniversary as an official employee at Be Like Brit, I continue to be amazed and in awe of what Cherylann and Len have created. I started my journey with BLB in 2013, when Len, who built our home in Holden, and Cherylann got wind that in my “former life” (a.k.a. before kids), I was a fundraising professional at The New England Center for Children in Southborough, MA. They of course told me about BLB and said that if I was ever interested in helping out, they would love a volunteer. Well, how could I resist! For about 18 months, I would meet them at their dining room table every other week to work on basic fundraising projects – setting up on Guidestar, creating the Amazon Wish List, researching and applying to Foundations, etc.

Then, I was given the opportunity to travel to Haiti on a Women’s Trip to see for myself what they had built. I was stunned. How two grieving parents could transform their heartache into a beautiful home for 66 beautiful children and at the same time create an organization and Britsionary program that welcomes hundreds of volunteers who are helping their community in Grand Goâve is beyond anything I have seen before. So, now I was hooked for life, and when offered the opportunity to work on a regular, part-time basis (since my girls are still so young), I jumped at the chance!

Today, I am blessed to spend every day working on fundraising activities for BLB – helping to organize the 5k Walk, Annual Fall Gala, Annual Golf Tournament and Annual Bowling Event, working with our Boston Marathon and Falmouth Road Race running teams, meeting with our fantastic volunteer grant committee researching and writing grant applications, meeting with and talking to our donors, organizing the quarterly newsletter and monthly emails and doing everything I can to help financially sustain this organization.

The supporters of this organization are also unlike any I’ve ever seen. Each and every one of them is wholly connected to and dedicated to Be Like Brit and the children in Haiti. I watch every day as dozens of boxes arrive in our warehouse full of donations for Brit’s Home or as 10 year olds stop in to hand an envelope of cash donations they’ve collected at their lemonade stand. I see our regular volunteers, who come every week, smiling as they walk past my office toward the warehouse to organize the donations and pack the hockey bags for their trips to Haiti. Then I see volunteers who are here for the first time, helping to stuff 12,000 envelopes for our Christmas mailing. I talk to people who call the office who want to donate the proceeds from their events to Be Like Brit or simply call just to find out how they can help! I’ve never seen so many people, so dedicated to a cause.

I thank Len and Cherylann for the opportunity to be a part of something so incredible and I thank the hundreds upon hundreds of donors who show up at our events, donate toward our appeals, volunteer their time to travel to Haiti or help us in the office and just in general for making my job so fun and fulfilling! They say it’s not a job if you love what you do – so I guess I can say, I love my life at BLB….and feel utterly blessed.