celebrate kindness

We Have a Sofa!

Posted on: September 14, 2016

Oh friends, what AMAZING progress we are making on the Tiny Tech Cafe!

If you’ve been following our GoFundMe campaign, you know that purchasing a sofa was a huge goal of mine for our little Cafe. Flexible seating is the crux of this project and a sofa would be a perfect addition to that vision. (It would also make a great natural border for the edge of the cafe!)

For months now I’ve been eyeing up this cute little sofa at Kroger. Yes, that’s right – Kroger! Did you know you can buy furniture there?

WantToBuySofa

When I finally got enough donations in the campaign to purchase the sofa, I went back to Kroger only to discover the price had been raised substantially. Whaaaaaat?? My heart sank. Here I had precisely planned for each and every purchase using these funds and now I would have to cut something out of my budget to cover the new price of the sofa.

I. Was. Devastated.

The first person I found was Kenny Williams, who greeted me with a smile. “Let’s see what’s going on with that sofa.” He and another gentleman walked with me back to the sofa, scanned it, and sure enough – the price was increased. He looked at me a bit perplexed and suggested I come back the following Wednesday (after Labor Day) to see if the price would return to its original price.

I had someone take a photo of me and Kenny right there in the moment because he gave me hope!

tamara-kenny

That Wednesday (which was exactly one week ago today), I went back to Kroger and as luck would have it, Kenny was working that day. The sofa was still available, but the price hadn’t budged an inch. It was still listed much higher than it had been all summer.

There are times in our lives when we have to make tough decisions, and this was one of them. Kenny had heard all about my Tiny Tech Cafe fund and he knew how important this sofa was to Mechanicsville Elementary. He also had the power to hold firm to the current price or bless me with the purchase price I would have paid had I bought the sofa the previous week.

Kenny honored the lower price.

Integrity. 

I was so excited I purchased the sofa RIGHT THEN (you should have seen me race to the self-checkout; it was QUITE a sight!) Then I realized I had created another dilemma for myself… how was I going to get the sofa from Kroger to Mechanicsville Elementary?

I left the sofa at the store, with my name and a large SOLD sign, then put out an open request on Facebook for help:

fb-plea

Have I mentioned lately how much I dislike asking people for help?

Let me tell you, this Tiny Tech Cafe is teaching me quite a lesson in teamwork, relationships, and community support. I am discovering that this project is SO. MUCH. BIGGER. THAN. ME!!

When you ask for help, people answer.

I had more than half a dozen people respond to my frantic plea. The first person to comment on my post was Stephen Bahen, a former MES parent (who also worked with me at Kings Dominion a million years ago, lol.) He met me the following afternoon, right after I finished leading a professional development session for my teachers, and off we drove to Kroger, ready to pick up the sofa once and for all!

JOY!!

We entered the store and I immediately took Stephen to the sofa on display. “C’mon, Stephen! You have GOT to sit on this sofa! It’s amazing!” Well, sit we did, side-by-side, in a grocery story full of shoppers. I turned to him and started laughing at how absurd we must look – two full-grown adults just hanging out on the store furniture!

It was in that EXACT moment, I saw a dear friend of mine approaching us with her seven-month daughter in tow.

I couldn’t make up this stuff if I tried! What were the chances?

Michelle Henry was all smiles as she saw me, surely knowing why I was there because I know she’s been following these blog posts. I invited her to sit with us and then had to take a selfie simply because the whole moment was PRICELESS!

sofa-michelemestephen

We shared some hugs and a lot of laughter, then who should come down the aisle… but the man of the hour – Kenny Williams! He knew exactly who I was and went back to the storeroom to bring out our sofa, packed neatly in a massive cardboard box.

sofa-krogerget

Ladies and gentlemen! The sofa is on its way!

As we drove from Kroger to Mechanicsville Elementary, Stephen stopped at Dunkin’ Donuts and blessed me with an iced coffee. A RAK and a sofa?? This day couldn’t get any better!

We arrived at school late in the afternoon and grabbed anyone we saw to help us move the box into the laptop lab. Kate Miller, one of our very first donors, jumped in with smiles. I was delighted to have students helping us, too, since this is for them as well!

sofa-carryme

I knew we would have to wait for the sofa to be put together (by my very handy husband), but for now it was cause for celebration!

Then… when I thought it couldn’t POSSIBLY get any better than this…

That night we received even more donations to our campaign! OH MY GOODNESS!!

My dear friend and oh-so-fun Zumba teacher, Vicki Williams, blessed us with a donation as did my next-door childhood friend, Rachael Rafferty. Neither gal is connected to Mechanicsville Elementary as a parent or student; they are simply friends of mine and members of the local community who want to be a part of something extraordinary! I am so humbled by their support.

Then…

I know – how could it POSSIBLY get ANY BETTER?!?!

Then… I received the largest donation of the entire campaign, from an anonymous donor, making this campaign fully funded!

HAPPY DANCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness! The joy!! The excitement! The realization that this is OUR project, OUR Tiny Tech Cafe, OUR gift back to our students and teachers! YOU ARE PART OF THE DREAM!

It was in this exact moment of exuberance that I KNEW this dream is so much bigger than me.

And then…

Yes… there’s more…

And then…

Just yesterday, one of my sweet ZTA sorority sisters whom I haven’t seen in more than two decades, almost matched that gigantic donation from the week before. Kim Carabetta literally brought me to tears with her contribution above and beyond all my wildest expectations!

You are not donating to a classroom. You are not donating to a piece of furniture. You are donating to a dream, a vision, a way to bring a little joy into other people’s lives. You are blessing us with flexible seating, yes, but you are creating a learning environment that lends itself to quality conversations, a welcoming smile, a listening ear.

You are helping us learn and grow in our knowledge of new things, whether it’s learning how to make a green screen video or stretching our minds by trying new strategies showcased in best-seller books like Teach Like a Pirate and Kids Deserve It.

Your donations are helping us in SO many ways.

And for this I say thank you, from the bottom of my heart. I am so blessed you are part of my tribe.

For more information on how you can support our ongoing needs, click here! We would love to add you to our list of supporters!

More updates to come… I can’t wait to show you what the sofa looks like SET UP IN THE CAFE!

TinyTechCafeLogo - FINAL

 

 

 

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The cards I made as random acts of kindness to bless others through iServe #iservecsbc #rak
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