Monday, March 10, 2014

RAK Day 19,20, 21...etc.: The final RAKs.

Hi readers... it's been a while. Too long, in my opinion. However, once we hit our homeland of Traverse City, we wanted to get settled in and then spent a while readjusting (over a month -- has it been that long already?!). I started a new job as a Marketing Associate at RF System Lab and will be starting week three ! Dan has been hard at work signing up brides-to-be for some excellent 2 Bays DJs packages and working gigs on nights and weekends...and honestly, we took a little hiatus before figuring out our final RAKs.

We wanted them to be meaningful and not just hastily thrown together. We also wanted to include our Facebook friends on our last RAK, because we value your input. Funny enough, the most popular option was what Dan had been thinking of doing all along!

Back on track:
You may recall that we kind of left you hanging as to what our Canadian RAK was...well, that's because it took a while to actually come together properly. However, we have sent over a check to our liason, Pam (our gracious host for our short time in Canada) so that she can help us to follow through with RAK #53: Providing financial aid for a girl looking to play some hockey.

One of our requests from a donor, the wonderful retired gym teacher Mrs. Anne Perry, was that we help a student afford to play a sport. We loved this, but wanted to find the right opportunity...which is exactly what we stumbled upon in Canada.

While staying with Pam in Burlington, Canada, she told us all about how girl's hockey is just starting to take off at the local school and on traveling leagues, but recently there was a bit of a rough patch. She explained that male hockey players are forced to choose between a traveling league, which is usually the more popular (and much more expensive) option and the school hockey league because they both take up so much time with practice and games. Girls, however, were allowed to play on both the school league and the traveling league because there was not really much conflict since there are far fewer girl's teams. Well, there was a complaint about the fairness of the situation and the result was that the females were also forced to choose between school or travel teams.

The school league is a less popular option than the travel team, simply because the travel team allows much more diversity of competition...but it is also way more expensive. So the high school team was left without enough players since those who could chose the travel league. That's when Pam told us about a third, very popular option: A local league called the Burlington Girl's Hockey Club. The hockey club provides a chance for girls to compete with a larger variety of teams at a slightly lower price point.

That price point is still around $300. Which is what we donated to assist with financial aid for an aspiring girl's hockey player. We felt that this was the perfect fit.

Now, let's take you back to  snowy, freezing, Traverse City. The first thing we did...after I unpacked my entire apartment and attended some job interviews and hot yoga, was complete RAK #54: Donate blood again! We thought that bringing it back full circle would be a great way to start our return to Traverse City (Giving blood was our very first RAK). We donated to Michigan Blood again because we like the fact that they supply the blood for the local Munson hospital. Plus, the staff is extremely welcoming and nice. We highly recommend them if you're feeling like saving some lives.
Back in Traverse City --  hanging out at the Ice Caves!
Flashforward to present time: our final RAK...of the roadtrip, that is. I don't think we will ever be able to stop RAKing. It's kind of like a frame of mind now. Just the other day I was watching a young couple in the grocery store whose card was declining their over $100 in groceries and I had to fight the very stong urge to purchase their items for them. I did stick some spare change in parking meters later that day and leave some generous tips for my waitress this past weekend.

Anywho: the last RAK. As I mentioned, we took a Facebook poll to see what our readers/Facebook friends thought was the best way to spend our approx. $147.00. They answered loud and clear: do something nice for the Grand Traverse Road Commission.

In case you live under a rock...or are just in Florida... northern winter has been awful these past few months. Frigid temperatures, insane amounts of snow, and worst of all: terrible road conditions. Thankfully for us Traverse City residents, the Grand Traverse Road Commission brought their A-game and kept everyone safe and calm through the winter. They worked ridiculously hard and if anyone deserves a thank you, it is definitely them.

So, we are buying them lunch next week (RAK #55!!!). I just sent an email asking for their Jimmy John's order and am waiting to hear back on choices and preferred date and time. We chose Jimmy John's because Traverse City's Jimmy John's is owned by a couple with hearts of gold. They give back to their community every chance they get -- I'm pretty sure they sponsored or contributed to every event I planned over the last few years. To top it off, they even donated to the RAK Roadtrip. Kindness goes full circle.

We plan on writing one final RAK wrap-up blog post and I will have to get on Liz to send the second half of her "Liz's list" when she gets a chance...but she just got engaged!!! so it may be a while.

I'd like to end this post with a sincere thank you. From the very bottom of our hearts: thank you, thank you, thank you. 

Thank you for your support, for your donations, for your words of encouragement, for reading the blog, for sharing articles on Facebook, for committing your own act of kindness, for giving us a room/couch/floor to sleep on, for feeding us, for showing us your cities and homes.

We are overcome with the kindness that we have been shown all over the country and we will absolutely never forget this amazing journey on which we were blessed enough to get to embark.

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