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Pay It Forward
$520 raised
16 contributors
4 Years running
Dear Friends and Family,
It’s funny.  I talk all day, and I write all day, and if you know me, that’s usually not a problem.  That’s my job in the world of fundraising and is also simply who I am.  But now that I want to write about someone I ...

Dear Friends and Family,

It’s funny.  I talk all day, and I write all day, and if you know me, that’s usually not a problem.  That’s my job in the world of fundraising and is also simply who I am.  But now that I want to write about someone I truly care for, and someone who has become a significant part of our lives, the words just won’t come together.  So here it is, out on the line and surely not as eloquent as I’d like. 

Mark and I respectfully ask for your help in sending Andrea Oliva, Liam’s and Harper’s daycare provider, and her seven year old daughter Alanna, home to Costa Rica to visit their family.  Andrea hasn’t seen her parents, Alanna’s grandparents, in over three years.  Her father has been in and out of good health, which makes this situation even more pressing.  I’ve tried to put myself in her shoes, and I can’t imagine.  She is an incredibly strong and admirable woman.      

Andrea’s story is pretty typical of most who immigrate to the U.S. in search of better opportunities.  She moved here over 14 years ago, learned to speak our language, enrolled in college courses (something that was not available to her in Costa Rica) and conformed to our lifestyle and culture.  Her efforts have landed her jobs in the hospitality field – with cleaning companies and daycare centers.  She is by far, one of the hardest working, honest individuals I’ve met – yet is unable to achieve financial “success” as a result of, what I’d like to call, systemic absurdities. 

We met Andrea when Liam was nine months old and started daycare.  Andrea was one of his “teachers,” with whom he immediately bonded.  Within a few months, Andrea approached me and said she had been taking classes to gain licensure enabling her to open a home daycare.  At this point, Andrea was making $9.00 per hour, a portion of which went back to the daycare center to pay for the preschool program in which her daughter was enrolled.  You don’t have to do the math to question how she managed (and so gracefully), her daily and monthly living expenses.  Her drive to open a home daycare was for two primary reasons: her passion for nurturing babies and toddlers, and the necessity to increase her income.  As the primary provider for herself and her daughter, she could no longer subside on what she was making as a house cleaner or employee of a daycare center. 

Though geographically, Andrea’s home is not too close to ours, we decided to leave the daycare center to help Andrea pursue her career goals.  We also did this to avoid separating Liam from Andrea, as they shared such a special bond.  In the time since we all embarked on this journey, Liam celebrated his first, second and third birthdays with Andrea; we attended Alanna’s preschool graduation, and watched her make the tough transition from kindergarten to first grade (no more playground time and lots more homework); we all welcomed Harper into the world and eventually into the “pack” when she joined the other kids full-time at two months old; we’ve shared meals, gone to the movies and played at the pool.  Andrea loves our children as though they were her own and I am grateful, every day, to have her in our lives. 

I recently asked Andrea to give me the dates of when she and Alanna would be in Costa Rica this summer so I could begin arranging alternative daycare.  Andrea then informed me they would no longer be going.  This summer Andrea will have two open spots she needs to fill – one child’s mother is a teacher and will not need childcare until the fall, and another child will only be very part-time.  If she is unable to fill those spots, we will be her only income this summer.  In the fall, Liam starts preschool, which is exciting, but also potentially means less income for Andrea until she is able to fill Liam’s spot with a full-time kiddo.  As a result, the money she has been saving for airfare is being reserved in the event that she has unsteady income over the next several months. 

It humbles me that while Mark, myself and our children are able to travel to visit family, plan vacations for pure leisure and buy material things that probably aren’t necessary, there are some people who, in spite of their tireless work efforts, still find themselves pitted in a position that must feel like a spinning hamster wheel.  Mark and I are able make a slight increase in what we pay Andrea on a bi-weekly basis, but need your help to fill the gap.  If you feel inclined, please write a check out to Andrea Oliva, in whatever amount you feel comfortable, so that she and Alanna can hopefully go home to visit their family.  Please trust that should you decide to help Andrea out, your contribution will go toward the purchase of two plane tickets.

Mark, Liam, Harper and I truly appreciate your consideration.  Please contact me if you have any questions. 



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