Invitation to Give

Miranda Weigler, Friendly House Board Member

Hi.

Thank you for joining us for lunch today and giving me the chance to tell you about my Friendly House community. As Mya alluded to, I am a proud alum of Friendly House pre-school, but I’ve also had a brief stint as staff in my twenties and I just started my second year on the board of directors.

While I have been extremely lucky to travel, and live in many places, I am also lucky to be so rooted in such a unique and special collective of humanity. The ongoing support and love of this place and these people gave me courage and grounding to launch myself into the world.

When we lost my mum unexpectedly almost 8 years ago, Friendly House was the sacred space we chose to celebrate, because community to her was more important than anything. Having moved back to Portland I find Friendly House providing some of the continuity and context I was afraid I had lost forever.

Friendly House pre-school taught me many of the lessons that still carry me today. I was terrible with legos (clearly not an architect,) but I was definitively bossy and quite loquacious. I learned to share, to love learning, to value diversity and to look both ways before crossing any street! When transplants and visitors ask how I deal with the rain, I use Teacher Glenda’s trusted adage that I am not sugar and will not melt.

Friendly House provided me and my family a foundation, as it does for so many. Your contribution today could help a child find a foundation that will help them thrive for the rest of their lives. The benefits of a model like FH are clear for those students who are able to pay the full fee. Most pre-school programs are economically segregated with the impact of reducing many forms of diversity at the exact moment of experiencing socialization for the first time beyond the family.

You have seen in the video today the impact we are also able to make with seniors. I could tell you more about how, for some seniors, our upcoming Harvest Dinner will be their social highlight for the year. I could tell you how our SAGE program offers support and validation to senior members of the LGBT community, those most at risk, and carrying the burdens of stigmatization from earlier in life.

But I would like instead to tell you briefly about a recent addition to our programming. Each Monday and Friday Meals on Wheels hosts a community lunch for anyone 60 or better. They have taken over providing meals to the preschool as well, and I personally love that not only do vulnerable members of our community get nourishing food and company. I love that the backdrop for the meal is the sounds of happy children and a thriving community. My mum used to tell me that nourishment comes in many forms. I am proud to be a part of an organization that can provide for so many in so many ways.

In front of you today are your name cards, if you unfold them you will see that on the other side there is a pledge card. We’d like to invite you to make a donation today, or to let us know if there are other ways you’d like to support FH, perhaps by volunteering or learning more by joining us for a tour.

When thinking about completing your pledge card today, know how much nourishment you are providing, not only for those most at risk, but for the community that we all share. In times of disagreement and strife it is so important to come together to affirm the values that bind us.

A gift today of $10,000 will give a child a start in life. They will be able to attend full day preschool for a whole year, setting the stage for their ongoing education. This is critical support for working parents who know their children are safe, happy, and learning.

$5,000 – Pays for 20 Community Recreation and Education memberships for homeless and low income neighbors so they can work out and find common interest with other members.

$500 supports matching and coordinating our Friendly Visiting program.

$100 – Pays for food and entertainment for a free Friday game night where we meet new friends, visit with old ones, and build community.If a large donation seems out of reach, please consider becoming a Bridge Builder. Bridge Builders are folks who pledge $500 or more a year for three years.  They are incredibly valuable to Friendly House, because beyond supporting our mission, they allow Friendly House to plan for the future. If you look in your program you will find a list of our current Bridge Builders, and you will see many familiar names – please consider joining them – pledges can start as low as $43 a month.

Thank you for your time and attention. I hope after this presentation we have all gotten a little closer. That is the real secret sauce of Friendly House, even though it isn’t really a secret. Community seems hard, but in reality, it’s just making one friend at a time.

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