Top Eddie Essay contest entries

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Manna Food Project
Audrey Richards
What’s better than having $100 for yourself? Giving back to the community and helping those in need with that $100.
The Kiwanis Club of Boyne City has realized this and has asked tenth-graders to answer a question; “If you had $100 to give to your favorite local charity which helps people, which charity would you give the contribution to and why?” A charity that deserves the contribution of $100 is The Manna Food Project. The Manna Food Project has been a charity helping others for thirty-one years since 1987. Anyone who is not able to afford food for themselves or for their family can fill out a registration for Manna.
Manna has thirty-seven partner agencies throughout Northern Michigan in Antrim, Charlevoix, and Emmet Counties. Their food pantry is open Tuesday morning from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. If the times do not work for you, then Manna will help you find a different food pantry in your area, or they will send you an emergency box with everything you need in it for the week.
There are also different programs Manna runs to feed the hungry. One of their programs is the Food Rescue Program. They receive perishable and non-perishable food items from local sources such as grocers, restaurants, farmers, and other businesses. The Food 4 Kids Backpack Program is a program that runs during the school year. Manna sends home bags with nutritious foods and snacks with children when they can’t get any food at home during the weekend. During the summer, the program to get nutritious foods to children is the Snack Packs Summer Program. This program is exactly like the Backpack Program, except smaller backpacks are packed. Manna is hard a hard working charity serving the hungry, which is something I’ve personally witnessed. I have volunteered at Manna before at the Harbor Springs location with my youth group, which in a way makes me feel connected to them. It was a cold, snowy winter wonderland when we ventured to the facility. We came into the building and instantly got to work. I helped put the labels on pudding containers to help with the Backpack Program. The white labels included the ingredients and allergy information. I also helped decompress the cardboard boxes in which different food items came in, then I carried them to the green dumpster out back behind the facility.
When it was time to pack the bags, all hands were on deck.
Each item would plink into a bag, with the sound of crinkling following. While we were working, everyone could just imagine the toothy smiles that would be on each child’s face when he or she received their backpack.
Manna could use the $100 in several ways. It would be able to get the supplies needed to pack the 2,200 backpacks that are sent out to local schools weekly. The $100 would pay for forty backpacks of food for the weekend, which equals to 412 meals. The money could also pay for the gas to use their cargo van and the two large refrigerated trucks that transport food. Another way that the money could be used is to restock the food in the facility; up to 32,000 pounds of food items come in each week to restock shelves.
There are many other ways the money could be used, but these are a few of the main ones. The Manna Food project is a very good program that strives to feed the hungry. They would definitely put use to the $100 they receive. I know they will be grateful for the generous donation and happily continue to serve others.

Create Arts Studio
Izabella Frazier
If I had $100 to give to any charity, I would pick Boyne City’s Create Arts Studio. A place where artists are able to express themselves through their art. Where people have a smile upon their face, playing and using arts supplies they never thought they would have.
Create Arts Studio is a non-profit arts and social service organization whose goal is to connect with the community through arts to bring positive change.
Create makes it possible for those who want to do art, able to, even if they may not have the money for it. Create has programs for K-5, middle-schoolers, and high-schoolers. Along with those programs, they have art therapy that allows younger kids to express themselves and learn empowerment, a community outreach to help people discover their voice, a sketch club for people who love to sketch, art lab allowing them to experience new ideas, and an open studio where you can explore others creative originality or make your own.
Create Arts Studios AIR (Artist in Residence) program is my reason for choosing Create as my charity to donate $100. Classmates of mine participated in this program over the course of last year, 2017. Speaking with them I have found just how great and enjoyable Create is. They were given the opportunity to work on projects all on their own with given workspace and collaborate with other artists. They spent time with a blank face drinking coffee and going over project details. Coming together every month to go over a schedule to make their time there efficiently spent. Create has achieved great accomplishments over the years, being able to have all these opportunities available to us. They have worked hard to get where they are now. I would like to contribute to this non-profit charity to help with their purchases of needed art supplies for the community to use.
Front Porch Cafe
Jacob Derenzy
There’s a lot of heart and soul that goes into The Front Porch Cafe on Main Street in Ellsworth. This cafe is a nonprofit organization that is part of the Front Porch Ministries, and provides people food when they can’t eat. They started in 2008 with funds from a buffet fundraiser after the local restaurant closed. Donations from patrons and food from the Manna Food Project, the Food Rescue of Northwest Michigan and local farmers help keep this place going. Breakfast and lunch are served every day besides Sunday, from seven in the morning to two in the afternoon with meals that change weekly. Everyone except the cook does not get paid, which shows their time and dedication to the cafe. They say “The mission of the Front Porch Ministries is to nourish community by feeding body, mind and spirit.” I chose this charity because they have a great mission to help people in need, by giving them a hot meal and a warm place to get out of the weather outside. I remember tasting the bacon, pancakes and the frosting on a huge iced cinnamon roll, and I felt the bright atmosphere. This was a great place to eat breakfast with my family, especially since it is part of a religious missionary. The Front Porch Cafe is also in a small-town, and coming from a small-town myself, I support this cafe. The one hundred dollars will benefit people because it will keep The Front Porch Cafe up and running. They think it is the gathering place for the community, for the old folks, students, locals and new faces from different towns. People come together here, whether to talk about the news, or to see their friends once in a while. The chipped counter top in the bakery could be repaired, the maintenance and utility costs could be helped, or someone’s meal could be paid when they can’t pay. The One hundred dollars would help The Front Porch Cafe, the gathering ground for all who are good.

Helping the People
Jacob Walsh-Emerson
Life can be hard. Different people have different circumstances. Some have all the things they need. Others don’t have that luxury. People can get to this point many different ways. Maybe they had the things they needed then lost them. Maybe they were born without anything. No matter your circumstances or where you are in life Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan (WRCNM) can help. And I’m going to tell you how. My mother recently decided she wanted to go back to college to receive her degree. But as a single parent she didn’t necessarily have the income to do so. Thankfully WRCNM offers tuition assistance for women struggling to pay for the expenses of college. My mother was not the best student when she attended college originally. But since I am more self-sufficient now, and she doesn’t spend all her time taking care of me, my mom wanted to try and redo what she didn’t do so well the first time. She wants to earn a degree in natural resources so she can be a National Park ranger, or something along those lines, when I am out the house and she retires from her current job. But as you all know college is expensive.
She was lacking in funds to pay for it, so she interviewed with the WRCNM representative at North Central Michigan College (NCMC) to see if she was eligible for their scholarship. It turns out she was eligible, so she had to fill out and submit a form, and then from that she was selected from all the other applicants.
All she had to do when she got the scholarship was write a thank you note to the WRCNM and acknowledge that they had helped her. But educational aid is not all the Women’s Resource Center does.
They offer all kinds of services from help with sexual or domestic abuse to places for children to play and learn. One such place is the Children’s Learning Center (CLC) which is a preschool option for families to send their children to, with a nationally recognized curriculum. The staff of CLC gets high reviews from both parents and the 2½ to 10 year old kids they supervise. Women’s Resource Center also offers before and after school programs, along with summer programs, for parents who are apprehensive about leaving their kids unsupervised. These programs allow students to come in on days when school is cancelled and stay active and engaged with all sorts of fun things from getting outside to crafts. Or if you are a parent with a newborn child you can attend a weekly Playgroup, which are offered all throughout Northern Michigan. The kids play with each other while the new parents can learn about early childhood development, age appropriate toys and activities, and approaches to discipline.
But fear not, WRCNM has much more! They also have thrift stores called Gold Mine Resale Shops in Petoskey that offer clothes, household items, books, games, and more. And what’s even better is that all the money Gold Mine Resale Shop makes goes directly to funding other WRCNM services. Services like counseling for people who have gone through abuse of domestic or sexual nature. WRCNM has Master’s licensed therapists to help people who have gone through sexual abuse as a child or an adult, domestic abuse as an adult or child, or elderly abuse. You can get counseling individually or in a group and WRCNM even offers temporary shelter if you just got of an abusive relationship.
Plus, counseling and abuse services are always free. If you happen to be an abuse victim WRCNM also has a 24-hour crisis and information line and referral services. Women’s Resource Center also has a violence prevention program that addresses the root causes of violence and offers training and workshops to help stop violence when it occurs.
There is also a program called Respect Is Everything where students are given information about abuse and how to set boundaries in a relationship so they can make good choices in the future. The themes of respect and responsibility are very prevalent here as the students participate in skill building lessons. Coaching Boys Into Men is another similar course for boys only that teaches young men how to respect women. I believe Women’s Resource Center does good work to help people, which is why I chose to write about them. I believe they make a real difference and could help even more people if they had more money. Say $100 more. I think WRCNM could expand on their programs with a little more money. They could help many more children and people who have gone through terrible horrors that no one should have to suffer. Imagine the joyous looks on children’s faces as they let their imaginations run wild playing with new toys and learning at the Children’s Learning Center. Or the relieved faces of abuse victims as they have a major breakthrough in therapy, tears streaming from their eyes, down their cheeks, and to the floor. Or the faces of people like my mother as they are finally able to achieve their dreams thanks to WRCNM’s Educational aid. I hope now you know that WCRNM can help you. No matter your circumstances you can get help. And I hope you at Kiwanis will help Women’s Resource Center help those people.

American Cancer Society
Katelyn Hellebuyck
If I was to donate money to any charity, it would be the American Cancer Society. Why, you may ask? Because it is a health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) was first established in 1913 and now has more than nine hundred offices in the U.S. The American Cancer Society tries to prevent cancer by research and education. There are several more reasons to donate to the American Cancer Society. One is that cancer changes several peoples’ lives in many different ways. My grandma, Jeanne Hellebuyck, was my best friend as a little girl. She was my number one supporter. My grandma Hellebuyck was always making me laugh and we would have the best of times together. When I got into first grade, she got extremely ill with colon cancer. Even though she was ill, her cancer never got in the way of her holding me tight and telling me how much she loved me. She never stopped caring and loving for those around her. She passed away a while after being diagnosed with cancer. Sometimes I sit and think that it could be so different right now if she was still here.
Nobody can go back and get me my best friend back … I know that. One thing I do know though is that we can prevent as much as possible the same thing which happened to me and my family from happening to other people’s family. I have faith in that. That is exactly why I would donate to the American Cancer Society.

Challenge Mountain
Phoebe Holm
When I’m asked the question, “If you had one hundred dollars to give to any local charity that helps people which charity would you give the contribution to and why?” It’s a very difficult, complicated question for me to answer. I would love to contribute more than one hundred dollars to every charity out there if I had the chance and money to do so. But after a long, hard time of thinking about the question that was put in front of me, I decided if I had the chance to give one hundred dollars to a charity, that hits a personal spot for me, it would have to be Challenge Mountain. Challenge Mountain was the idea of Darla Evans, a parent of a child with a disability. Her daughter was confined to a wheelchair, which meant she couldn’t experience activities that other kids could. She couldn’t experience activities that her family and friends enjoyed. In 1982, Darla Evans took her daughter, Chrissy, to the National Sports Center for Disabled in Winter Park, Colorado so she could learn how to ski like her friends and family. After a week, Chrissy was skiing perfectly with equipment adapted for her needs. After the week Darla promised the operator of the National Sports center that she would open a similar operation in Michigan. And then in 1984 Everett Kircher, founder of Boyne Resorts, donated ski hills to Darla. This is where it all began. Challenge Mountain has now adapted from just skiing to all-year recreational programs for all individuals with disabilities. Challenge Mountain programming is supported financially by the Challenge Mountain resale store that first opened its doors in 1986. Within 5 years, the business had outgrown the original location and in 1990 moved to a bigger facility in Boyne City. Then in 2006 another store was opened in Petoskey. After more than 26 years, Challenge Mountain Resale Store moved once again in 2016 to a place that allowed it to grow bigger and become the main funding source for Challenge Mountain and a place that supports the community with cheap necessities. All money raised from the resale store goes toward buying equipment such as skis, sleds, snowboards, kayaks, canoes, bikes, fishing supplies, camping supplies, and even more. Challenge Mountain wants every person struggling with a disability to belong and feel loved and wanted, to experience everything of life and not be ashamed of who they are. If Challenge Mountain received $100 they would have the ability to make more people with disabilities have the recreational experiences they deserve. It would make it possible for people confined in a wheelchair to ski down the white, glistening slopes of winter, teach kids to paddle across the blue waters of Lake Charlevoix in kayaks, make people who are not good around people more confident, ride a horse to calm their nerves, and smell the sweet smell of nature, the leaves, the pine trees, all the while smiling and having fun with things they thought they could never do. It would give my cousin, who was undiagnosed and has been stuck in a wheelchair since he was five, the experience of getting outside. It would show him that nothing is impossible, that he can still do things in life he thought he could never do. I feel as though Challenge Mountain undoubtedly deserves this $100 donation, they have been serving the community for almost 34 years and are here to “Enrich lives and empower individuals living with disabilities through year-round adaptive recreation,” which is one of the most awe-inspiring things you could do, make people happy and fulfill dreams.

DeVos Children Hospital
Rachelle Veal
When I was 8 whenever I was being really active such as bike riding, working out, or even a simple task of walking a lot I would get this uncomfortable feeling that I always described to my parents as feeling shaky or weak. So we went to our regular doctor’s office and they said I was overweight. So they put me on a diet which I didn’t stick to. But I went from 130 lbs to 102 lbs I was 5’2” and 10 years old. My parents had thought it was an eating disorder, but I ate quite a bit. More symptoms started showing up such as excessively craving sugar, always being sick, weak, or tired and continuously losing weight. So one day we went back to the doctor and asked for my doctor to come and see if anything was wrong. We had told him my symptoms. He sent me to Helen DeVos Children Hospital the next day which was the first day of 5th grade. The doctor told me I should’ve been hospitalized a while ago. My A1C was at 14. There are 14 levels, 14 being the highest 8 being the normal. A1C is your average blood sugar, 14 means it was constantly over 600. An average blood sugar for diabetics is 100-120. For people who don’t carry diabetes it’s 70 to 100. So while we were at Helen DeVos we had to take classes on what to do and how to do it and learn how to manage it. I want to give back to them because when I went there I was so scared to take the classes. I now have take shots and poke myself everyday. They made the visit so much easier and calming. The people were very nice and understanding. A lot of their nurses were diabetic too so it made me feel more comfortable around them; I guess more trusting of what they were saying. A couple of years later my sugars started going bad again. So when we went down there we were looking for something that would help better track it. They introduced me to the pump which is like an IV that is constantly in you. It’s a little machine that kind of looks like a beeper and is about the size of one. You have to fill it with insulin so that your blood sugars stay normal. Most of these nurses also had the pump which made me feel like I could trust what they were saying about their personal experience with the pump. The people at Helen DeVos have always been there for me and my family, answering questions whenever we had them. They were always very caring and always concerned about my health. Helen DeVos is a children’s hospital that handles people of all ages with diabetes and other illnesses and diseases. Helen DeVos has made a huge impact on my life and I know it has for others too. That’s why I chose to write about them because they give and help so much and deserve more given back to them.

N. MI Equine Therapy
Kara Giem
Horses have always been therapeutic to me. I suffer with anxiety and depression but as soon as I get onto a horse, both of those disorders melt away for me. The barn I ride at is my happy place, and this amazing facility is a happy place for many other children and young adults here in Northern Michigan. Northern Michigan Equine Therapy is using these amazing, caring creatures in their Hippotherapy. The horses can help to improve independence, self-confidence, and quality of life for those in need. Northern Michigan Equine Therapy offers many different programs to suit the different needs of every client. There are a wide variety of people who can benefit from equine assisted therapy. People with movement dysfunction can use the natural movement of the horse to strengthen the muscles that they need for a more independent life. People suffering from Down’s Syndrome, autism spectrum disorders, traumatic brain disorders, anxiety, depression and more can also benefit from these amazing programs.
The reason why I selected Northern Michigan Equine Therapy as my charity for this Eddie Essay is because the topic of horses being used as a therapy tool hits very close to home for me. I understand the feeling of peace whenever you are in the presence of these powerful, yet gentle, animals. Horses really can help you in many, many ways and they do just that for me.
The $100.00 would benefit this wonderful organization in many, many ways. It could help with veterinary costs, ferrier costs, and the cost of feed so their therapy horses can continue to happily and healthily help humans in need. The donation would also help to cover costs for new tack they need to allow their clients to ride the horses and receive the therapy they need. The smell of horses and the calming feeling of touching one’s coat brings me immense joy and I hope that Northern Michigan Equine Therapy can continue to heal and to touch the lives of others.

The Fight
Josie Bollmann
Deep down, hiding in the darkness of depression, pulls us away from being the happy kids we used to be. Kids who used to smile, laugh, and play outside for hours. Whether it was playing in the creek, running through the meadows, or playing in the barns with the animals, there was a smile on their faces. As kids get older, they start to experience life. Sometimes life’s a breeze, and that is something I never want to take away from anyone. Other times it feels as if life is spinning around like a tornado, and we can never escape it.
Everyone is quick to judge others without taking a minute to think about what others might be dealing with. Some wear long sleeves to cover the lonely late nights reflecting the scars they leave on their skin. Others resort to drugs to stop the demons inside from taking over. Everyone has their own strategy for dealing with the anxiety and depression they drag around with them daily. Fighting and fighting to find positivity gets exhausting and soon everything around them is automatically negative. Just like that, a bitter cold runs through their veins as wild as the rapids. Numb; no emotions shown with strangers, no feelings escape their heads and the thought of death doesn’t faze them anymore. Many teens around the world; including me, struggle with depression, anxiety, and fighting with the emotional thoughts life leaves them with. Nobody thinks suicide will ever impact their life; some are lucky and never have to deal with it. For others, it has become a part of their lives. In 2012 Kiersten, a teenage girl, took her life and joined the angels up in heaven. She touched not only her family’s hearts, she also brought happiness to her animals, and nobody should forget the smile she had while with them. Kiersten’s family felt like they needed to do something after losing someone so special. They founded Kiersten’s Ride to help bring awareness to the cause of suicide. They focus on the Northern part of Michigan, East Jordan especially. They help people understand the signs of suicide, and focusing on help, hope, and healing to those who attempted the act of suicide. Kiersten’s Ride is an annual fundraiser held in August, and her family brought memories of Kiersten into the fundraiser. There is a walk, horseback ride, and ATV ride held to help raise awareness and to remember Kiersten and the things she loved to do, like riding her horses. Her story has touched so many hearts, now Kiersten’s Ride is touching their hearts in a completely different way. Teens hold thousands of secrets inside their heads. Secrets so deep they feel nobody will understand. Nobody they can go to- so they just let the thoughts inside their brain destroy them. Some people wish this is the last heartbeat they would ever feel and everything would stop.
No life, no pain, no living, and no drowning thoughts in their heads making them lose their fights.
Some teens think the only solution in their life is to end it all. Unfortunately, they never see the heartbreaking damage it does to the ones who love them.
Suicide will take all the pain someone is feeling and pass it onto others, the ones who love them the most. I know teens that are having thoughts of suicide; they are closer than you think.
Life isn’t fair.
It will continue to kick us to the ground till we feel lower then we already were, broken and destroyed with the painful things we deal with everyday, thinking the fight will never go away, thinking the constant pain they drag around everyday will never stop. I will not tell you that it will go away soon, or that the pain will instantly end.
That is a lie that I refuse to tell. I can promise you that no matter what you are strong enough to win the fight. You can drag that pain around a little longer. You are strong! I also understand life never gets easier. There will always be a time it is rough, but life will get better and you will get stronger. For those who have never felt the weakness of depression, and anxiety, or have not had someone close experience the feeling, it is very hard to understand. I have been dealing with this fight for as long as I can remember, and I can stand here today and tell you fighting with yourself to stay alive is the hardest battle to win. Not a lot of us understand how many teens so close to us are suicidal. It is scary people could be gone in an instant and we would not have the least bit of knowledge regarding the thoughts rushing through their heads. It is so important to understand the effect things have on teens and what teens are going through. Kiersten’s family is bringing awareness and tools to help families and teens fight to stay alive. They help Northern Michigan become more aware and save many lives. The money won would help around the community. They hold conferences with the Yellow Ribbon Suicide prevention Program, SafeTalk programs and trainings in the local communities by talking to local schools and bringing awareness to save a life. On average over 38,000 Americans commit suicide each year. Kiersten’s family is doing everything to bring the numbers down, and Kiersten’s Ride is just another amazing way to save a life. They lost someone special, and now are stepping up to the fight against suicide.

CREATING OPPORTUNITIES
Taylor Noble
Imagine if you had a young family member who was diagnosed with cancer and they weren’t going to get to live the life of a normal child. There are appointments to go to, and they are very tiring. Not to mention you probably don’t have a whole lot of money left after all of the appointments and treatments. It’s a very stressful time for everyone in the family. Camp Quality is there to help relieve the stress.
Camp Quality offers a free camp for kids who have been diagnosed with cancer. Camp Quality’s goal is to help these kids forget about their cancer for a week. They also like to take some of the stress off of the parents so they can do fun things together. Your child gets to hang out with kids their age who’ve also been diagnosed.
Camp Quality sets up activities that lets your child get to be a real kid. Some of the activities include: zip-lining, petting zoos, swimming, magicians, a performance by the Young Americans and many more.
Each child gets paired with a companion who is like their best friend for a week. They are adult volunteers who always enjoy their time with the kids. The first camp began in 1988. There are a total of fifteen camps located in eleven states. There are a total of 900 campers with about 2,000 volunteers and 75 nurses on site. It was previously directed by a woman named Eleanor West. In her video online, you can just tell that she loves what Camp Quality has become. She loves hearing the laughter and seeing the smiles on all of the kids faces.
For the ones whose time is limited this is a great experience. There’s nothing better than just getting to be a kid. I’ve chosen this foundation because I knew I wanted to choose an organization that had to do with cancer. My cousin who is twenty-six was just recently diagnosed with breast cancer. It’s been a very emotional time and I pray for her every day. She’s started chemotherapy and it’s been going well. However, it has impacted their family structure. Emotions are intense and its impacted all of us. Instead of choosing an organization that gives money to people who have been diagnosed with cancer to use for treatments or for the research of cancer, I wanted to choose an organization that sets the cancer aside and focuses on having a great life while you’ve got it. I can’t imagine how it feels to have a child who gets diagnosed at such a young age. It’s sad but who wants to focus on the sad things in life. You’ve got to enjoy it while you’ve got it. I believe that Camp Quality encompasses this message the best. I would love to give this organization one-hundred dollars because with it they could possibly bring another kid to one of their camps. The more kids that they have, the more fun it will be for everyone. All of these kids deserve to go to a camp like this. They have every right in the world to have fun. If one-hundred dollars isn’t enough to bring a kid for the entire week of camp, then they could use it for an extra activity for the kids at the camp. Camp Quality is a fantastic organization for these kids and they deserve as much money as they can get to help support their organizations ideas to help the camps grow.

 

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