2021 was the year to remember as I highlighted in last year’s Reflection. But what we did in 2022 was lay the foundation for continued success and growth. We finished 2021 with 2 of our sports care packages and this year, in 2022, we did 6 – making a to-date total of 8! Feedback from all involved has been overwhelmingly positive. Most importantly, though, feedback from the juniors and their families have been an inspiration for me and the Jerseys for Juniors team.
These sports care packages provide a moment where there’s so much happiness and joy that the fear and pain from their hospital stays are momentarily pushed to the side. In one care package the junior immediately put on the jersey we delivered and walked down the hall beaming with pride to the nurses and doctors. This is the emotion we want to continue across the United States for 2023.
In our second service branch of Jerseys for Juniors we partnered with the South Carolina Stingrays and took all the residents from the Carolina Youth Development Center to a hockey game. These kids had so much fun; we plan to do this again. We partnered with fathead and decorated the game room at the Youth Center with life size fathead athletes.
Behind the scenes we got connected to some wonderful organizations such as the Special Olympics (Area 6 in South Carolina), 20/20 Youth Organization, Quest in Recovery, the Calloway Stern Group and 1 Million Cups (Thank you Pat Tang). We hope to foster those connections in 2023 and do some more amazing things through them. We were the identified charity from 2 blood drives through The Blood Connection that collectively had over 120 people donate their blood. We are thankful for the funds received from those 2 events and honored and blessed to be a part of such an amazing life saving opportunity. We were also interviewed by the Daniel Island News as the recipient charity winner from the 2022 Pigskin Pick’ems (Thank you to Team Rhys)!
We did have some challenges in 2022 though – particularly in the event planning and fund-raising arena. To deal with this challenge, we met with a few PR/marketing firms and presented our mission at 1 Million Cups of Charleston and received some valuable feedback and connections. Those lessons learned will be applied this coming year and so look to see announcements on upcoming events from us.
Thank you to those we have partnered with, those who took time to speak to us, those who have donated and the ones who organized delivery of the care packages with us (Child Life Departments and Youth Pastors).
I’ll have some upcoming personal announcements coming up that will allow me to focus more on this mission and serving communities across the United States through Jerseys for Juniors. 2021 was launch, 2022 was foundational and 2023 will be continued focus on execution.
I’d like to close 2022 with a personal message to those who might be reading this and have been thinking of starting a non-profit. I sat behind the idea of Jerseys for Juniors for almost a decade. I was scared to fail, worried I wasn’t prepared and just wasn’t sure I’d know how to do everything. Over the last 2 years I have learned that you won’t be prepared for everything. And just the launch of Jerseys for Juniors should be considered a success. There will be challenges along the way as we can’t be prepared for everything and every moment. Because if you wait to be 100% prepared then you will never start. Jump in, learn, adapt, and keep pressing forward and things will align. You will meet people that will help; and organizations are out there that want you to succeed but if you stand behind fear those opportunities will remain hidden from you.
In loving memory of Grandma and Grandpa Wilson.
Jerseys for Juniors, Founder & President