I wrote this speech for our wonderful and dedicated Advisory Boards. A list of our board members is in the “Our Team” drop down on the website. We are so blessed and fortunate to have such an amazing group of people surround us with their love and support and 100% of their effort.
First, I want to say thank you for coming to our annual Christmas dinner at Miguels. And, Merry Christmas from all of our family to yours. I pray you that you have a beautiful Christmas season and a very happy New Year. Also, I don’t want to forget our December birthdays….Marky – the big 21 on the 9th! Rose is 29 again on the 12th. And, our Nick is 27 on the 13th! Happiest of birthdays to all of you.
My next order of business is to thank and congratulate all of our 5 year anniversary advisory board members which I will name.
In addition to the four members of our family – we have (in no particular order)
- Dominick Baker
- Nicholas Holderman
- Ruth Hahn
- Laura Cinelli
- Rose Hoppe
- Marykay Williams
- Mark Gentile
- Keenan Schoenberger
- Marci Ruggiero
- Maggie Ruggiero
- Philip Ruggiero
- Margie Pearsall
Can we give them all a round of applause. Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts.
Just a few facts about our foundation and the five years we have been in service.
Five Years Ago…..Think about this…
On May 31st, we received our letter from the IRS making us official!
- We gave out one scholarship and donated money to Families First in our inaugural year.
- We had the original members I mentioned and my Mom, Erik Rohl were still with us on the board.
- Jake Ceraul drew a cool little design on his hat which later became our awesome apparel logo.
- We donated to the Pen Argyl Skate Park – a $16,000 piece of equipment that is still there today.
- Just a funny tidbit…Maggie was 12 years old and in 6th grade! She’s graduating this coming year! The other student advisory members were still in high school – they’ve got jobs, girlfriends and are adult ing with the rest of us!
- I had just started my research on grieving kids. We did not have the “Dear Luke Project” or our mindfulness program in schools.
- The foundation then was very “Luke-centered”
- We hadn’t started doing any fundraising-no Truck and Car Show.
- We didn’t have a website or social media pages as of yet.
Five years later…..As of today:
- Out of our combined boards totaling 16 members we still have 12 original participating members!! WOW!!! And, four new wonderful additions!
- We have become an operating foundation as compared to non-operating.
- We have given out 7 scholarships over the last 5 years.
- We have donated approximately $_10,000.00_to different organizations/people. This is not counting our programs and services that we provide.
- Grief Support is our central focus now. Myself, Rose, and Lexi have been to a total of four NAGC conferences all over the US to keep us up to date on all of the best practices for grieving kids. We have provided services for over 200 children and adults who are grieving a loss in the community.
- We now give out beautiful journals in our “Dear Luke Project” to all who need them.
- We fund the SHanthi Project’s mindfulness program in Pen Argyl School District with Bangor getting it next year! 14 classrooms so far have learned about mindfulness and it’s benefits.
- We have evolved from a “Luke centered” foundation to a mission-centered organization. We fully keep in mind the boy who started it all and who’s foundation we honor every time we help a grieving child, give out a scholarship to a high school senior with a learning disability, or provide a stressed out student with a way to be mindful.
- We have had 4 successful truck and car shows and other amazing fundraisers totaling approximately $_80,000.00______________.
- We have a gorgeous, informative website, FB, Instagram and Twitter accounts!
- And, lastly, not to toot our own horn, but we have received recognition awards from not only the House of Representatives and the Senate, but also from Families First, the IU 20 and the Pennsylvania State Education Association’s Friend of Education Award for our work in schools.
I know there’s probably so much more I’m missing, but I am in total awe of the work we have accomplished so far in such a little time and I stand up here and thank you for it all. Luke would be so incredibly proud of all we have done in his name. We love you all for what you have done over these past five years. No gift could ever be enough to thank you, but I hope you know in your hearts that you are appreciated and honored.
Let’s do a toast to us! The LWH Foundation!