A Fundraiser 15 Years in the Making
For a while now, I’ve been contemplating shaving my head as a fundraiser for youth programs in Esquimalt. I’ve had long hair for about 15 years and my wife, Candace, has never seen me with short hair. She let me know recently that it would be nice to see what I look like with short hair before all my hair falls out! Obviously, this put some urgency behind the idea of a head shave fundraiser.
Candace and I lead a New Venture, The Community, which reaches out to the youth of Esquimalt. We facilitate a youth group for youth from all sorts of different backgrounds, host a breakfast program at the local high school, and a bunch of other things all with the goal of seeing youth live life in its fullness in Jesus. One of our responsibilities is to raise our own financial support from churches and individuals for programs, supplies, and wages. So, obviously, it would seem the most sensible thing to have all the proceeds go towards our own financial support needs but, as I prayed about where we should designate the funds, God reminded me how Jesus came to minister to the people he was sent to: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). With this in mind and a goal to raise $10,000, I decided to give the first $5000 we raise away to serve other programs in Esquimalt, and only after that will any of the funds go to The Community.
The first group I met with was the municipally-run teen centre. In the past, the teen centre used to take the 12 most at-risk youth in Esquimalt on a trip up-Island to Ucluelet for 4 days of camping and surfing. Unfortunately, priorities changed, funding for the trip was cut and it hasn’t been happening. I met with the staff there who I am getting to know fairly well and asked them: “What do you need to make this extremely important trip happen again?” They said: “Funds. That’s it.” I asked them how much and they responded that they’d need about $2500 to which I simply told them: “Done.” They didn’t really understand so I explained that I’m doing a fundraiser and shaving my head to raise the funds. One of the staff exclaimed: “Oh no, it’s the end of Ginger Jesus!” (a bunch of youth in Esquimalt call me Ginger Jesus because of my long red hair and beard). They asked me more about my plan to raise money and I laid it out for them and told them that there is no way we’ll raise less than the $2500 and that $2500 is set aside first for them – $2500 no strings attached. It got a little quiet. One staff gave me an “I’m not sure if this is really going to happen . . .” type of look and the other staff said: “Whoa, you really are like Jesus.” I just laughed.
It is so awesome to be able to sit with people who, as far as I know, don’t believe in Jesus and tell them about the generosity and giving of his Church and his people. I explained how I go to churches and individuals with financial needs like camp registration costs, physical needs, etc. and I am often met with an abundance of generosity. It’s so great to be able to speak highly of the Church and the people of Jesus when so much of what is said about us is often negative. It is such an opportunity and privilege to serve, to let people know that there is a reason why we do what we do the way we do – Jesus.
If you or your church would like to donate to this fundraiser or you’d like more information, go to esquimaltcommunityyouthheadshave.ca where you can donate online. The individual who makes the largest donation will receive two nights free stay for two at the stunning Wild Shores Guest House in Ucluelet and will get to make the first cut! Also, I’d be more than happy to share more information with you or your congregation if you want to contact me at email@example.com. The big shave is on June 11th!