Monday, September 29, 2008

Donation Time Again: Two Recommendations

It's that time of the year when that one person at the office starts dunning everyone in sight for donations to the United Way.


I hate that. That one person (and every corporation, business, government office, outhouse, whatever has one) all of a sudden is your best friend. They're always on the phone asking if you got the donation form, sending emails and text messages about how the money will be used to benefit those that need it, you just gotta fill out that form cause every bit helps... AAAAAHHHG!

Once they sense that you aren't interested in donating to the United Way, that person (who often has been unfairly tasked with compelling a positive response by upper management) morphs into a charter member of the Children of the Corn complete with piercing stares and freakish monotone statements. I've often wondered if I need to check my vehicle for sabotage after yet another refusal to participate...

Anyway, I do contribute to worthy causes. I do NOT contribute to the United Way. That is my choice.

The two charities I support are The Big Oak Ranch and Tupelo Children's Mansion. Both help kids in need and I know that every bit of help they get is spent on their kids.

Please click on the two links above and see how these fine people are helping children in dire need become valued adults by providing them with a loving and supportive home environment.

John Croyle and his wife, Tee, have seen their dream of building the best children's home in America grow into three separate facilities in Northeast Alabama: Big Oak Boys' Ranch in Gadsden, Big Oak Girls' Ranch in Springville, and Westbrook Christian School, Inc. in Rainbow City.

The Big Oak ministry grew out of John's desire to give hurting children a chance. John successfully played football at the University of Alabama under the legendary coach Paul "Bear" Bryant. Faced with one of the most important decisions of his life -- whether to play professional football or to start a children's home -- John followed the Lord's leadership and established Big Oak Boys' Ranch in 1974. Big Oak Ranch, Inc. was incorporated in the State of Alabama as a 501(c)(3) Corporation in that same year.

John's vision to start the Girls' Ranch evolved from a court case involving "Shelley," a 12-year old girl who had been physically and sexually abused by her father. John pleaded with the judge to let Shelley live at the Boys' Ranch, but the judge refused and placed Shelley back with her parents. Shelley was beaten to death by her parents three months later. The Girls' Ranch was built in 1988 after John felt the Lord's calling to start a girls' home in Shelley's memory.

Our mission is to offer hope through the love of Jesus Christ to orphaned or disadvantaged children by providing their physical, spiritual, emotional, social, and educational needs . . . contributing to their health, security and happiness, and equipping them to lead productive lives.

Founded 55 years ago, the Mansion is recognized as one of the oldest and most trusted organizations of its kind. Our beautiful campus spans 40 acres with 27 buildings including: residence halls and staff housing, a Christian school, gymnasium, an on-campus church, and a thrift store.

Our caregivers, including social workers and counselors, have the experience, training and educational background to properly care for our children. Our other dedicated staff spans departments of administration, sponsor relations, food service, maintenance, and other support services.

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