GIRLS GIVE BACK
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
Erin Stack and Kristen Weeden, co-founders of The Summer Market and Girls Give Back are two women with a strong passion for doing good and helping others. The non-profit organization they began was affectionately named for their daughters: Margaret, Brie, Maddie, Zoe, Lily, Sophia, Georgia and Emilie. It was the hope that Erin and Kristen would not only start this organization to help others, but also to teach their daughters along the way through volunteer work, random acts of kindness and The Summer Market.
Since the Summer Market launched in 2006, funds raised at the event have been donated to countless organizations, individuals and families in need.
The mission of Girls Give Back is to make the world a better place through Random Acts of Kindness and Giving the Gift of Home.
THE ORIGINAL GIFT OF HOME
For the first several years of The Summer Market, all funds raised at the event were donated to the Avon Lake Landmark Preservation Society in an effort to save the Thomas Folger Home, that sits at Veteran's Memorial Park, from demolition. Both the Stack and Weeden families put in countless volunteer hours renovating and restoring this historic home.
As of today, the home was saved and is now used as a rental facility for small parties and gatherings along the lake.
THE GIFT OF HOME - RENOVATIONS & RENEWAL FOR FAMILIES IN NEED
Home is a place of love and comfort that should welcome you with open arms. Girls Give Back was able to give the "Gift of Home" to 3 local families that were in need. After a weekend away, families returned home to a fresh, clean space with new household items and an overall sense of comfort, serenity and renewal.
The first Gift of Home was given to a single mother and her six children. Our goal, to give this overwhelmed mom a clean, warm and updated space to raise her beautiful family.
GIFT OF HOME 1
The second Gift of Home was given to a mother diagnosed with terminal breast cancer and given only 6 months left of life. Our goal, to help her feel at peace about leaving this world knowing her husband and children were taken care of.
GIFT OF HOME 2 BEFORE & AFTER
The third Gift of Home was given to a Dad who suffered a cerebral stroke at only 35 years old and was in the middle of renovating a fixer upper dream home for his family. Our goal, to finish the work he started exactly the way he wanted it for his wife and children.
THE GIFT OF HOME - BLESSING HOUSE - NEW HOME, NEW GIFT, NEW CHAPTER
Sr. Mary Berigan (3rd from left) and Donna Humphrey (1st from left) opened a home to care for children of families in crisis back in 2005. This home, located in Lorain, Ohio is Blessing House. These 2 women, angels on earth.
Blessing House & Girls Give Back formed a partnership back in 2016 at a chance meeting, a car wash to be exact. Girls Give Back was searching for a group to help them at the Summer Market and Blessing House was looking for ways to raise funds. So for the past 5 years, Blessing House has helped at the Market and GGB has made a donation to their non-profit in return. A match made in Heaven.
In 2020, Blessing House broke ground on a brand new, state of the art home to be able to help even more children and families in need. Because of the amazing and selfless work these women do each and every day, we made a stronger commitment to their organization.
2019 - Girls Give Back sponsors the Lake Erie Bedroom at the new home & makes a donation of $25,000 to Blessing House. This was Kristen Weeden's last year with Girls' Give Back & The Summer Market. One last beautiful and impactful donation before she stepped down from the organization to spend more time with her family.
THE GIFT OF HOME - BLESSING HOUSE - WE'LL TAKE ANOTHER ROOM PLEASE
Because we love the mission of Blessing House SO MUCH, we decided to sponsor another room in their brand new home! Our Winter Market was so successful, that it allowed us to surpass our fundraising goals and donate even more!!!
2020 - Girls Give Back sponsors the Child Intake Room at the new home & makes a donation of $15,000 to Blessing House. The Winter Market was so successful, that it allowed us to donate and additional $5,000 for general operating costs. The final $500 donation was made by one of our longtime vendors - Feather Your Nest from Pickerington, Ohio.
Pictured here from left to right:
Donna Humphrey - Blessing House Co-Founder
Mary Clare Milewski - Erin's sister, new team member and a big reason our fundraising goals were met at The Winter Market in 2020
Sr. Mary Berigan - Blessing House Co-Founder
Erin Stack - Winter Market Founder
Denise Shafer - Blessing House Board Member and loving connector of our two organizations
GIFT OF HOME - MY HOUSE - NEW IN LORAIN
"My House" is a large manor home, with 6 rooms ready for young adults, ages 18-25, that are aging out of the foster care system. Through the guidance of mentors, each resident has a wonderful opportunity to make a successful transition to independent living so that they can effectively deal with and meet the expectations of being a productive adult.
In addition to living quarters, 'We Care We Share" also offers programs to help their residents with life and work goals, such as financial resposibility, job skills & readiness, substance abuse support and education needs and human relations.
Pictured are Board Members Jim Darcy and his daughter Megan Darcy Walsh in the Summer Market Fundraising Lot at Black River Landing. Jim is the visionary behind this new and much needed home - "My House" - in Lorain County.
2021 - Girls Give Back makes a donation of $10,000 to My House c/o We Care We Share in an effort to help them get closer to opening their doors!
MORE ABOUT MY HOUSE
GIFT OF HOME - BLESSING HOUSE - THE NEW BUILDING IS OPEN!
Oh my word. If only these walls could talk. The old walls and the new walls...each would burst with stories of love, comfort, joy, refuge and remembrance. Hundreds and hundreds of children's lives have been touched and some actually saved because of Blessing House. And many (now teens and adults) come back to visit and tell Sr. Mary and Donna just that. This home and this team change lives.
I've said this again and again and again, but Sr. Mary (pictured in the middle) and Donna (not pictured) are angels on Earth. They are the love and the shelter and the escape for children when they need them the absolute most.
I wish you could hear the stories that Sr. Mary shares with me. They bring tears to my eyes.
The BRAND NEW Blessing House is officially open and they are now able to help more children then they ever have before. The home is giant, gorgeous, clean, colorful, safe, welcoming and state-of-the-art. Where these strong, courageous and loving women have taken their mission is absolutely incredible.
I am blessed to know them and honored to work with them.
2021 - Girls Give Back makes a donation to Blessing House of $7500 to continue supporting their beautiful mission.
THE GIFT OF HOME - A LITTLE BIT FOR EVERYONE
2022 was a year filled with smiles. We were able touch the lives at "My House" of We Care We Share Ministries (housing and education for young adults aging out of the foster care system), Blessing House (a safe space for families in crisis), Neighborhood Alliance (serving the Lorain community) and a single mother that was on the verge of losing her only source of income. All 4 recipents/organizations are part of the Lorain community.
2022 - over $15,000 is donated
RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS
Girls Give Back has always loved and participated in Random Acts of Kindness.
Most times it is quiet and private and goes to someone in need. Other times, we have gotten all of our volunteers together to participate in "A Day of Giving."
On these days, our volunteers were invited to come together to share over $5,000 throughout the community through random acts of kindness. In just a few hours, the surrounding community felt a lot of love! The goal: to see smiles and invoke joy that we hoped continued to spread after those special days.
In this photo: The man sitting in the chair is in an Avon Lake Auto Shop getting a hole in his tire fixed. What he doesn't know is that little Isaac has just paid the entire bill for this service.