Working on Night of Warmth (you know, the Columbus OH-IO fundraiser for EOR on February 25.  18 days!) makes me feel like this:


You know…delighted!!!  This little person, and the hundreds of other kids I met while I was in Ethiopia last November help keep me focused on the end goal as I help to put the finishing touches on Night of Warmth.  His enthusiasm and mine must be contagious, because there are a huge number of people to thank for all of their efforts to make Night of Warmth a huge success.


I’d like to start by thanking our guests, our sponsors and our donors.  Your shared commitment to the children of Ethiopia warms the icy spots in my heart.   The success of Night of Warmth will belong to all of you.

I’d also like to thank the world’s best event planning committee:  Meggann, Katie, Emily, Ali & Abbie have made planning this incredible event a walk in the park.   None of this would be possible without them or their terrific spouses who also volunteer for NOW, juggle childcare duties and sell tickets, all for the children of Ethiopia.

This time last year, as we planned Dead of Winter, I was a crazy mess.  Even with a fabulous, dedicated committee, the success (or not) of the event fell largely on my shoulders.  This year, it has been enormously helpful to be joined by two fabulous Columbus-area board members as we’ve put this together.  Amy and Alex are the best kind of women–I am SO lucky to know them both!


Lastly, the husbands of the board need a special mention.  From Day 1, my commitment to Ethiopian Orphan Relief, Inc. has been a shared one.  Albert and our tots play a large role in my work for EOR.  It’s quite obvious that Amy and Alex could say the same.  Thank you Albert, Joel and Dan for your efforts.

When Night of Warmth is over and the proceeds have been tallied, I will be lauded again and again for the job that I’ve done.  Know now that EVERY time I say thank you for the praise, I will remember the role each of you played.

Ahmesegenallo, friends of Ethiopia,


Don’t have your tickets for Night of Warmth yet?  It’s not too late!   Visit our ‘Donate Now’ page for tickets or contact more more information.




We Love our Volunteers

I have decided to BLOG about two of our amazing volunteers.   Kimberly Heye and Andrea Lorimor are longstanding supporters of EOR and invaluable volunteers.  As co-chair of the pending Lights of Hope Benefit Auction I have had the privilege of seeing these ladies shine up close and personal.

Andrea Lonas Lorimor has shared her extraordinary talents as a freelance photographer and graphic designer with Ethiopian Orphan Relief for several years now.  She has single handedly captured the true essence of “Lights of Hope” with her photography and design.    During her down time…. Yeah right…..  She is the matriarch of an adorable fun-loving family. She and her husband Rich (who also is also a EOR asset) are parent of two beautiful Ethiopian adoptees brought home in 2007.

Kimberly Heye is another EOR volunteer that never ceases to amaze me.  She is smart, kind, level headed and a voice of reason.  She has been actively involved in The Day of the African Child, Shop 4 a cause and Lights of Hope.   She and her husband are currently raising 5 children. 4 bio and 1 adopted. This glorious family of 6 is planning a move to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in the near future. Kimberely will be teaching and her awesome husband Aser with be overseeing a construction project for Wycliff.  This family will continue to be a huge asset to EOR with their home base in Ethiopia.

Kimberly and Andrea-   Thanks so much for all of your, evenings, weekends and general brain power.


Andrea and family

Kimberly & family

BiG Love!

It’s National Volunteer Appreciation Week.  While I could start by expressing gratitude for the dozens of volunteers (including the board) who make EOR a successful venture, I’d rather start even closer to home.

Yep, I’m talking about our spouses.  Each board member has a loving husband who is pressed into service for EOR many times throughout the year.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Whether they use their mad skillz (photography, tech support, item procurement), volunteer at an event, run a marathon to raise money, or take over child-rearing so we can attend to EOR business, our mates deserve a huge shout out.  I can’t imagine trying to do this without their support.

Thank you Chris, and Casey, Danny, Don, Greg, Justin and well, especially Albert.  You help us make the world a better place, by making our world a better place.


I need a BiG favor

So, I’ve begun (along with a fabulous team) to plan the Dead of Winter costume gala for March of 2011.  We have a million things to do, and a million different ideas about how to make this the best fundraiser/event ever.  I’d like to ask for help though.

Many of you?  Most of you?  have attended multiple fundraisers in your lifetime.  I’d like you to cull through your various experiences to help me  plan this event.

This is a typical silent auction item.  It is cute, thematically-appropriate, and thoughtfully put together.  I’d like to put together baskets that are just as good, if not better (e.g.  more likely to bring in larger donations of cash).  This is where you come in…tell me about amazing baskets you’ve created.  Tell me about the great items you won at the Cystic Fibrosis silent auction.  Remember (with a mixture of nostalgia and embarrassment) the great bucket put together for your own elementary school fundraiser.  Think back to the silliest item that fetched the most cash.   Do all of these things, and please share them with me!

After all of that, think about the elegant chow served at these various affairs.  Was there a shrimp dish that wowed you?  An appetizer that looked good on paper, but was too messy to eat? Is there some fabulous food served in some region of the country that I’ve missed?  Seriously, if you know a great dish–well… dish!  I have a few ideas, so does the team, but we are eager to hear from YOU!

Ideas about food/beverage/auction items/decor, etc– all will be gratefully received.  As an added incentive, I’ll throw in my  2 cents (x 100) for each comment shared.  12 good ideas will add up to a 24.00 donation to EOR,  100 good ideas will add  up to an amazing event AND an awfully big donation to EOR.

Don’t say no right away–you DO have knowledge to share.  Sleep on it, and tell me in the morning–I really want to know!


A BiG heart

I had the pleasure of meeting Lauren’s brother and sister-in-law, Emily, last year for Lights of Hope.  A few minutes into our chat, I felt like we were old friends.  Both Emily and Marcus are warm, caring people (I guess it runs in the family!).  It was a thrill to see them again at Art for Ethiopia last November, and I’m so happy that they’re taking part in this year’s Lights of Hope.  Emily, so very generous with her time, agreed to be a guest blogger this month.  Please read her thoughts below:

I got involved with EOR because of my beautiful niece Meron who was adopted from Ethiopia 3 years ago. I had such a fantastic time at the Lights of Hope event last year that I can’t wait for the 2nd Annual Lights of Hope event on May 8th!

Some of the words that come to mind to describe Lights of Hope are Fun, Excitement, Energy, Generosity, Awareness, Caring, Community and Inspired.

FUN: because of the fabulous group of people, food, and drinks! Everyone was there to have a good time

EXCITEMENT:  about all the amazing items in the live and silent auction (and hoping to win).

ENERGY: because of all the positive thoughts, words, and feelings that were expressed throughout the night.

GENEROSITY because of the amazing amount of generosity during Raise the Paddle.

AWARENESS:  because this event helped raise awareness of how many orphans need our help.

CARING: because so many people showed how much they care about making a difference in the lives of children in Ethiopia.

COMMUNITY: because of all the wonderful people who came together this particular evening and really made a difference.

INSPIRED:  to make Lights of Hope a greater success every year.

Thank you so much Emily for being such an integral part of Lights of Hope and EOR.  With your help, we raised more than $30,000.00 and this year, I know we can do it again.


Meet Tracy!

Tracy Stevens has been volunteering with EOR since 2008, and is a vital part of our Art for Ethiopia planning team.  I thought I would “interview” Tracy in order to share with you her experiences as an EOR Volunteer Extraordinaire!

Me:  How did you hear about EOR?

Tracy:  I heard about EOR when I was invited to hear Hanna Fanta of Children’s Heaven speak in Stapleton (a neighborhood in Denver).  She was there to raise awareness and funds for her organization and find more sponsors for the girls she takes care of.  I had been thinking about adopting from Ethiopia, which is how Emily Barr came to invite me, but when I heard Hanna speak I knew that there were ways to help many more children than I could ever adopt, and help them faster.  After that presentation, I started thinking of ways I could raise money for Children’s Heaven.  I had sold some of my art through my kids’ school before for fundraising purposes and I thought maybe I could find other artists and organize a show.  I told my idea to Emily and she introduced me to others that would be instrumental in making this dream of a fundraiser work beyond my imagination.  At our first meeting, everyone gathered around my table to plan this art event.  When, several months later, we had raised 250% over the goal, and Hanna Fanta herself was there to witness it all, it made me feel so go to know that my dream was going to do so much good.

Me:  Why do you volunteer with EOR?

Tracy: I volunteer with EOR because I have a lot of latitude to come up with all sorts of ideas that appeal to me, knowing that I will be taken seriously and get plenty of help in making them happen.  I like how egos don’t get in the way of any person wanting to do some good in her own way.  I like working with people who are all incredibly dedicated to helping – it feels good to work toward a common goal.  Sometimes in my day to day life, I forget the initial inspiration, but working with everyone at EOR frequently reminds me of who still needs help.  I feel that we are all here to serve others and it is so easy, rewarding, and fun to do it.

Me:  How do you think EOR could do a better job utilizing its volunteers?

Tracy: I think EOR would do well to send around a survey to all its volunteers, just like schools do, asking what their interests and talents and experiences are.  From there EOR could mine this for ideas.  I think if you ask people directly for their help, they are far more likely to help and be very active.  Without being directly addresses, sometimes people feel that they won’t know their place or might not feel welcome.  This helps them to see that there is a place for everyone and that their help is help is valuable.  I also think lots of different small efforts are a good thing.  They don’t overwhelm people and they are more apt to participate.  They are also less stressful and keep the momentum going.  And they are FUN!

Me: What would you like to see EOR do in the future?

Tracy: I would like to see EOR volunteers get their neighbors together and organize multi-family garage sales to raise money for the orphanages we serve.  Stapleton has a HUGE one and it wouldn’t hurt to try to get people to donate the proceeds to a good cause.  You just have to ask.  Also, I really am excited about the fundraising, gourmet supper clubs we are planning.

Thanks Tracy – for answering my questions and for all that you do with EOR!  I think Tracy has some great suggestions and I can’t wait to start implementing them.


Getting to know Molly…

Here at EOR we are all volunteers, from board members, advisory members to official EOR volunteers. We thought it would be fun to highlight our wonderful volunteers for all they do and maybe find something new out about them! Today’s highlight is Molly! I first met Molly while shopping at a Portland Mall. She had her three adorable children with her. Her daughter Hana’s beauty caught my eye, as any Mom of a Ethiopian Child can spot other Ethiopian Children a mile away. I casually asked if her daughter was from Ethiopia. We chatted for a few moments and that was it. Over the next year I ran into her and her husband, Joe  at a few charity events and then she was a guest at EOR’s Lights of Hope Auction. A few playdates with the kids lead to a great friendship! Were excited to have Molly as EOR’s newest official volunteer! Thanks Molly for all you are doing for EOR!


Getting to know Molly….

I am the 4th out of 5 kids–4 girls and a boy in my family. I like to say I’m the forgotten 4th but my mom laughs out loud at that one. I grew up in a small town in southern Minnesota. My dad taught me to throw a wicked spiral football and I’l be forever indebted to him for that one among other things. I attended small Catholic schools all my life from kindergarten to college. My graduating class from high school was 22 and that included the foreign exchange student from Brazil. Half of my classmates I had gone to kindergarten with and I couldn’t wait to get away and know no one at college. I did just that and arrived at Notre Dame as happy as can be. I double majored in pre-professional studies (pre-med) and theology-what I like to call a very marketable major. insert laughter there.  My college years were wonderful and fun of crazy experiences one of which was being a sport manager that included the Notre Dame football team. We shagged balls and worked practices and games, I stood on the sidelines while very large humans crashed around me. It was fun stuff. I met and dated my husband at Notre Dame and we got married a few years after graduation.

Post graduation I volunteered with Holy Cross Associates and did crisis counseling for adults in the day center of a homeless shelter in Portland, Oregon. Having no training for that and then jumping in with both feet was a shock but a truly humbling experience in my life. One of the things that came out of that year of service was loving the Pacific Northwest where we’ve been for the past 13 years. The majority of my working years were in pharmaceutical sales up until my first child was born.

My husband Joe and I have 3 kids, ages 3,5, and 7. My theory is the even years are smoother than the odds, but we have many more to go to prove that one for sure. Our youngest was adopted from Ethiopia 3 years ago. I would tell anyone who is considering adoption to do it. I know it is the most important thing I will ever do in my life.  I love to travel, support children’s health by way of the March of Dimes locally and through organizations like EOR in Ethiopia. I’m a big believer in needing a village to raise your family. Sometimes you need close friends to tell you nicely that you are completely and utterly wrong and by the way, crazy.