In the weeks leading up to Share-a-thon, there is a growing excitement at Rising Above. This day is so much more than just fundraising. It's a day where we get to plant little seeds of hope throughout the Peace Country through the sharing of stories and impact our ministry has had on those we serve. Maybe these little seeds will reach someone who has a family member in addiction and really needs a word of encouragement, or maybe it will encourage someone in active addiction to seek help. We never know whose ears Share-a-thon will hit as we broadcast our message through Reach FM.
Share-a-thon isn't only an encouragement to our listeners, but to us as staff as it provides us an entire day to reflect on why we do what we do. It encourages our spirits and gives us a boost to keep going. There is a line from an old song that Executive Director, Mel Siggelkow, likes to reflect on. "Some people want to live within the sound of chapel bells, but I want to run a mission a yard from the gates of hell." The work we do here is exactly that. It's not a fluffy happy-go-lucky ministry. It is hard and can suck the life out of you. And at the same time add life to your soul. Staff cherish this day and are left with warm memories that last long after this day is over.
This day is also an incredible encouragement to our participants as it says to them that there are people out there who believe in them and want to support them in their recovery. As the number on the whiteboard is updated throughout the day, participants are in shock over the generosity of people. To some, the final number is almost unfathomable.
This years fundraising goal was $125,000.00. We finished off Share-a-thon 2021 with a grand total of $152,387.00!! That's close to $30,000.00 over our original fundraising goal. Back in 2012 when our federal funding got cut, the replacement of that $600,000.00 a year loomed over us. An emergency prayer meeting was called and 40 people from various ministries and churches across the region packed into a tiny Rising Above classroom in downtown Grande Prairie. As members prayed and sought God's direction, the meeting ended with an overwhelming sense that Rising Above was going to continue. Since then, we have operated as a charitable organization that is 60% community funded. These funds raised through Share-a-thon help to make up that 60%.
Fundraisers like Share-a-thon remind us of God's promise that we will continue. Times have been trying these past 2 years with COVID and the cancelations of our 2020 and 2021 Hope Lives Banquets. But God has been good to us and has continued to provide our every need through every season...especially the ones where we have a hard time seeing a way through.
We are astounded by the charitable hearts in our region and how willing people are to help when there is a need. Thank you for supporting us through financial support, prayer, and words of encouragement. There is an army of people behind this ministry that believes in what we do and we couldn't do what we do without your support!