WZID Women’s Expo

Though it isn’t recent news, we wanted to share about our day at the WZID Women’s Expo!  This event was from 7 months ago, but please enjoy reading about our event!

Today was a very successful and exciting day! We arrived at the WZID Women’s Expo at 9am, set up our booth, and immediately began networking. We made many great connections with other passionate organization and businesses and were beyond thrilled to share our ideas with others!

Within the first hour of attendance, we were presented with an usual but nonetheless lucrative opportunity which earned Stepping Stones Family Home $400! Hourly, WZID held $1000 cash prize contests. BarbaraAnn and myself being crazy dog lovers quickly ran to the front of the room as we heard WZID host Neal White announce “first 4 contestants to the front with a photo of their pet get to compete in the next challenge!” There was no need to even unlock our phones as we BOTH have photos of our dogs as our screen savers and thus there were both stood at the front of the expo in front of a bowl of skittles with the other 2 contestants. The “Skittle Straw Challenge” consisted of removing as many skittles as possible from a bowl in one minute. The catch? You could only used a straw and your mouth! But, sometimes you have to do some crazy things to raise money so…. I would like you to meet the 2016 2nd and 3rd place winners of the “Skittles Straw Challenge!” In 2nd place I earned $250, in 3rd BarbaraAnn was awarded $150. Thanks to the “Skittles Straw Challenge” we now have raised enough money to apply for our nonprofit status!

After a good ten minute laugh, we returned to our booth to get back to work (because unfortunately picking up skittles with a straw will not raise us the funds to purchase a home for Stepping Stones). We shared our message with so many WONDERFUL people who all stood behind Stepping Stones with ideas to help, positive words of encouragement, and interest in donating. We didn’t think the day could possibly end any better but this is the WZID Women’s Conference and apparently all dreams come true here….

Near the end of the expo, Senator Kelly Ayotte stopped by our booth to learn more bout the Veterans Business Owners Initiative (VBOI) and Veteran business owners. I was able to share with her my story about my experiences with the women and children in Afghanistan, the goals of Stepping Stones Family Home, and the tremendous help and support VBOI has been to us. BarbaraAnn and myself were lucky enough to spend about 5 minutes speaking with Senator Ayotte about what Stepping Stones Family Home means to us and what it is going to mean to young mothers and their children in the near future. Senator Ayotte was confident in our dream and believes our program will be a success. Hearing her confidence in us and our mission was the absolute perfect end to the perfect day!

We cannot wait to see what opportunities will develop from here and are so humbled by and grateful for the support and guidance provided by the VBOI and Lawyers ClearingHouse. And of course, NONE of this would be possible without the faith you all have placed in us and the generous donations you have given!

Now that we have reached our first stepping stone of raising funds to apply for nonprofit status, we move to our next which is submitting the paperwork. We will be contacting Lawyers ClearingHouse (from the nonprofit workshop the other week) to take advantage of the assistance they offer in filing the 501(c)(3) paperwork. From here, we will need to make a giant leap to our next stepping stone, which is raising funds for the $30,000 downpayment on the future site of Stepping Stones Family Home!

I am in absolute awe that a small idea we had while sitting at a courthouse in Lawrence has already become so much and I am incredibly excited to continue to share with you all where this journey will take us next!

“She believed she could so she did”

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