I have a friend named Erin. We have been friends for as long as I can remember - I believe since first grade. (Seriously? That means we've been friends for twenty-eight years. . . that seems unbelievable.) Want some proof?
This is a picture of a class trip to Boston. I'm thinking fifth grade, purely based on the hair. I'm the snotty looking one in the front row on the left. Erin is right behind me with the curly hair. (And maybe I should have warned her before I posted this on the internet!) I loved to go play at Erin's house when I was little. Their whole upstairs was just two bedrooms and a bathroom for the bedrooms to share, if my memory is correct. I remember that her older sister Andrea had a TV with a VCR built in- the first one I had seen and I thought it was so cool. They also had a play kitchen with a yellow phone, and David's speech clinic had the same kitchen. I thought of her each time we went into the playroom and I saw that kitchen. I remember having sleepovers at her house and going to Brownie day camp with her.
Fast forward, and we're both grown ups now. Erin is married and has an adorable little girl. She and her family live in Massachusetts, and Erin is a first grade teacher. (A job, by the way, that is PERFECT for her.) Erin emailed me with an idea she had to share Coins for Katie with her class. The school she works at does a community service learning project each year, and the entire first grade (four classes!) will be making Coins for Katie their community service learning project this year! I am going to ship cups to Erin, and every single child in the first grade, all NINETY of them, will take a cup home. Our boys will be pen pals with the first grade students in Erin's school. They will be able to incorporate Coins for Katie into reading, writing, spelling, math, geography, and more. This partnership is an amazing opportunity for us to bring awareness about Down syndrome adoption to a much larger group of people, raise money to bring Katie Ruth home, teach all of the children - at Erin's school and in my house - about generosity and helping others, and for a large group of students and their families to really make a difference in one child's life. I am so hopeful that we will be able to get Katie home before the end of their school year so they can see what they will work so hard to achieve actually come true.
Katie Ruth is such a lucky little girl, and she doesn't even know it. And her mama is so lucky to have friends like Erin - and the many others who have contacted me - who are willing to give of themselves to help us bring Katie Ruth home. I have been humbled and amazed by the outpouring of support and excitement we have seen. To date, we have given out 78 cups through our Coins for Katie project. And I have thirteen more ready to go out tomorrow!