Saturday, August 30, 2008

Nuru--Party With A Purpose

Nuru--Party With A Purpose, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
This photo was taken by my friend ricky beamer last night at a birthday party my friend brittani held for herself and a few of her friends. The friends were Kasey Hott, Brittany Murdock, Curtis Delong, Megan Pavlock, Bethany Cooperrider, Dave Biesecker, Jimmy Shreeves, and Joel Setal.

The party is part of a new theme for gatherings that my friends are doing. We are calling it parties with a purpose. Everybody likes to get together with friends, to catch up, to laugh, and to have fun together. Any good party features these aspects. But we are trying to go a little different route and say that sometimes when we get together, we want to have a purpose beyond ourselves. We want to raise money for a cause or serve the community or the church together.

Last night, everyone was encouraged to bring cash/checks/credit cards. Our purpose? We wanted to raise money for a non-profit many of us are involved with called nuru international. Nuru is an organization that works together with impoverished communities of 5,000-10,000 people who are living in extreme poverty (less than $1/day), to help those communities lift themselves out of extreme poverty in a period of five years. It’s an impressive organization with audacious and yet realistic goals. I highly recommend checking out their website, and even making a financial gift.

So how did this party work? Instead of buying birthday presents we encouraged people to give to nuru. We set up three computers in brittani’s house for people to log-on and give online through nuru’s cause page on facebook. We also had a vase sitting next to one of the computers where people could deposit cash and checks. There were people in front of the computers throughout the evening and lots of giving being done. There were also people playing on a wii, hanging out, laughing, eating great food, sharing stories and all of the normal things that make a get together or birthday party special.

And as the evening came to an end, we found out that our little group of friends had raised nearly $2000 in one evening. (And that doesn’t include folks who haven’t given yet, or whose gifts are in the mail arriving from the other side of the country. To me it’s a great testimony of what happens when people decide to pool their resources, and give their individual gifts. Every single gift adds up, and every measure of generosity, no matter how small or large, gets multiplied when it is given in community.

I’m so excited over what happened in our little get together, and I want to encourage you to consider throwing a “party with a purpose” the next time you get a group of friends together. Maybe you could raise even more money for Nuru? Regardless, there is something beautiful that happens when people unite and contribute to something that is bigger than themselves.

I am still in awe over what I witnessed last night. I hope this story will be an encouragement to you as you read it as well!

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