About a year-and-a-half ago, I started a job with a wonderful organization here in Pigsknuckle, called VAIL, or Valley Associates for Independent Living. VAIL is a Center for Independent Living (CIL), serving 5 counties and cities in Virginia. Until I applied for the job, I'd never heard of them. The organization is small - only 15 employees - but its impact is large.
What we do is quite simple... on the surface:
Promoting self-direction among people with disabilities and removing barriers to independence in the community
Basically, we work hard to keep people with disabilities at home and out of care facilities. We believe that most people want to be at home and that their quality of life, when they're in familiar surroundings, with their loved ones, is better. Simple. But what's involved in making that happen?
Not so simple.
Our staff is the most dedicated to their mission than any I have ever seen. No one is in it for the money, that's for certain. Every single person cares deeply for the people they serve, and every single person works so hard to ensure that every single one of those people receives the care and services they deserve.
Additionally, it's an incredibly positive place. I have never, in my entire working life, encountered a work environment like this one. There is no drama. There is no conflict (or if there is, it's kept quiet, between the people who have the issue, and it is never, ever spread around the office). Everyone genuinely likes one another. Everyone appreciates their coworkers' talents and skills and service.
It's a happy place to work.
And that? For me? Is so very important, especially given the fact that in recent years, I have worked at a couple of very, very not-happy places.
My job at VAIL is extremely varied. We're as small non-profit, so everyone wears several hats, and our director works hard to make sure everyone gets to do work they find interesting, that appeals to them on several important levels, and that utilizes their skills and talents. I am allowed to be creative and to work directly with people, two things I need in my work. I did a blog post the other day about one of things I get to do... you can read it right here, if you'd like.
VAIL is exactly the place I need to be right now, at this point in my life, and I am so very grateful that I am allowed to be there, to do what I do, to work with and for the people I do.
And that brings us here, to the reason for this post...
Non-profits exist on various funding streams, not the smallest of which is fundraisers and donations from corporations and private individuals. VAIL is no different. We do a number of different types of fundraisers - bingo nights, a cornhole tournament, benefit concerts, etc. Last year, we did our first Arctic Dip - a 'polar plunge' fundraiser. We jumped into a frozen lake (well, after 5 inches of ice was chainsawed off the top). In February. It was a new idea for us and we weren't sure how it was going to go... but it went swimmingly!
It really did! It was fun. It was cold, yes, but it was more fun than cold. I swear! We raised a nice chunk of money (and I was the high scorer!). No one had a heart attack or suffered hypothermia. And I got to check something off my Bucket List!
And we're doing it again this year. I'm really looking forward to it. I swear! I'm hoping to have more friends join me this year than last (only 2 brave souls, plus my daughter and one of her friends, went into the drink with me). And I hope to raise $2,000 for the cause.
If you're able to assist, I hope you will (no donation is too small or too large and every single penny helps)! If not, no worries at all. Just wish us well and pass on the info if you're inclined. You can go directly to my personal donation page if you click right here. Our Dip website is dip.govail.org and our full VAIL site is govail.org, if you're interested in reading more about us.
Thank you, my bloggy peeps, for even considering donating. It's appreciated more than you know!!