Monday, May 11, 2009

Friday, May 8th: Rwanda Rave

On May 8th, the night was one big blur. I left the house to get ready for the party at 8:15pm, and it was 3:00am by the time I got home. Everything in between those two times was a mash-up of collecting money, breaking 1300 glowsticks, and loosing my hearing to loud music. I looked down into my hands, I was holding $1469. I tell myself, “Add this to the rest of my funds, and over $6,000 has been raised.” Looking up, I gazed blankly at the mirror in front of me. I stared long and hard into my own eyes. This kid—myself—isn’t responsible for any of the success that’s been had fundraising for Cameras for Children, not even a little bit. I’m blown away by the kindness and generosity that’s been poured out since my decision to go to Africa. Peering deeper into this mirror, I see a whole network of friends and family, and teachers that have supported me far more than I could ever have supported myself.
With that knowledge comes a sense of guilt. I dont deserve this. i havent done anything extraordinary, im not special, im no more qualified to go to Africa than anyone else. Yet, people have put so much faith in me, and i now have a responsibility to follow through with the promises i have made to them. Knowing that there are individuals out there who care about me and what i'm doing in the world not only humbles me, but it inspires me. I hope I make every one proud--I hope I create some sort of channel for change in the world through my pictures and through what i do with photography. To the individuals who helped with the Rwanda Rave, this is my thankyou.
I’m greatly indebted to Arthur Ankeney, who provided Going Bonkers for the Rave fundraiser. Without Arthur, there would have been no party, and my goal would never have been reached. He gave up a night that could have spent with friends to stay at work and babysit a party that left Bonkers a mess. I may never know the full extent to which his character reaches, but I can personally attest to his selfless nature and care for those around him. I don’t think I will ever be able to give Arthur something as meaningful as the help he as given me. Thank you, Arthur, for being an example to the kind of person I should strive to be, and for allowing me to reach my fundraising goals. If you ever need anything, don’t hesitate to ask.

146 kids showed up to the Rwanda Rave—not for me—but for Austin Kolb, the best DJ I could ever have dreamed to throw a fundraiser for C4C. Austin brought the party in full force. Having travelled to Rwanda himself, he fought by my side all week to promote the event. Austin could be out making $1000 a night for himself, but because of his generosity and understanding of those who need help, he gave up his Friday night to DJ for no pay. Austin, your energy and talent made the night possible, and I am forever grateful for what you have done. Name a time and place, and I am yours for whatever you need.
There were dozens of kids who stayed afterwards to pick up glowsticks, and we had a group of awesome friends help set up before the party started. To anyone who helped make the evening run smoother, thank you so much.

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