Last month on a breezy Saturday, I heard cheers of, “Go Ben!” as I prepared to take a plunge into a frigid pool of water at the Denver Zoo. I saw the posters, the homemade t-shirts, and the smiling faces of our EQ Life participants as they awaited my icy cannonball. The EQ Life participants were working hard to show their appreciation and support of me in my philanthropic endeavor to support the Special Olympics at their annual “Polar Plunge”.
While many of us donate a dollar to a cause at the grocery store or perhaps write a check to a charity of our choosing, I wanted to show our EQ kids what philanthropy could look like for them.
Leading up to the plunge, we talked about philanthropy as group. What does that look like? Why do I do it? How do I raise donation money? I am very proud to say that this amazing group of kids with social and learning differences learned a lot about giving back to their community.
Our conversations led to a lot of discussion about what it means to not only support a cause but to support an individual who is dedicating himself to that cause. One participant in particular decided to donate over $100 of his own money to my campaign for Special Olympics. These types of actions are so important to us. It is proof that Equinox and the EQ Life program is truly helping teens and young-adults grow into and embrace their potential.
So, knowing that we were making strides in teaching the kids about philanthropy, I knew I had to take that plunge. I had to follow through and complete the challenge. So, to many cheers and the delight of the EQ Life participants, I took a big leap and cannonballed into that freezing cold water. And did I mention I was wearing a penguin suit?
As a first time plunger, and survivor of this frigid endeavor here are 10 tips to make your plunge, make waves:
1.) Get a team (family/friends/co-workers)
2.) Find a theme (Superhero, Penguins, be creative!)
3.) Make a name (Jolly jumpers, The Plungy Bunch)
4.) Register online at www.specialolympicsco.org
5.) Email blast family/friends/co-workers! (The website has a great template for this!)
6.) Promote yourself! (Facebook/social media)
7.) Plan fun ways to fundraise for your donations **at least $75 Per plunger (Bake sale/raffle/change collection)
8.) Get as many people as involved as possible. (Neighbors/ favorite bars or restaurants/ local businesses)
9.) Day of the plunge- make signs, cheer loud, take pictures, check out local vendors (Bring extra pair of dry clothes!)
10.) Have fun! Relish in the idea of giving back for a good cause (IMPORTANT: None of this will change the temperature of the water!!)
Overall, I was able to raise over $350 dollars for the Special Olympics. It was amazing to see my circle of co-workers, EQ participants and their families fully back me, and show so much excitement around the cause. The focus for our EQ kids was to find different ways to support someone. Each one of EQ Life’s participants displayed overwhelming encouragement and willingness to make a genuine effort to endorse one person throughout. Next year should be even bigger when we have all of the kids plunge with me!