Monday, August 29, 2011

Dumpster Diving for ATN

What sane person gets up at 6:00 AM to go dig through trash cans and scrounge under bleachers?  Well, I do, but I"m not sane, so it's fitting.

Why in the world would I do this on a Monday morning?  Or any morning for that matter?  Because those cans and bleachers contain "plastic gold."

The organization my husband and I volunteer for, the Attachment & Trauma Network (ATN) is in the hunt for a $50,000 grant from Pepsi.  If you're not familiar with ATN we are a post adoption support, education and advocacy group.  Occasionally we work with families who are biological families but their child has had some trauma, usually a medical issue.  The vast majority of the families we serve are foster/adoptive families.  The children have been subjected abuse and/or neglect in their early life and have emotional and behavioral issues because of it.  In addition, there are often mental health issues, whether it's due to maternal drug and alcohol use, or other organic mental illness such as ADHD or Bi-Polar disorder.

ATN is ENTIRELY volunteer driven.  My good friend, Nancy, started the organization in 1995 and ran it by herself until about 2003/2004 when several of us joined the staff.  We are now a vital organization.  Members of our group testified before Congress a few months ago about the lack of Post Adoption Support.

So, what does this have to do with dumpster diving?  OK, I wasn't really in a dumpster, but I smelled like it when I got home.

Pepsi has a monthly contest in which various organizations compete for "votes" to win a grant.  ATN is competing for a $50,000 grant.  Supporters can vote via Facebook, e-mail and text, but at this stage of the game, the real votes are in Pepsi codes.  Each code can be entered on Pepsi Refresh Website and is worth anywhere from 5 - 100 extra votes.  These are the yellow plastic caps on top of Pepsi bottles.  There are also codes inside specially marked boxes.

My husband works for a private ambulance service and was the standby ambulance at the Slinger Super Speedway.  He noticed an abundance of "yellow gold" floating around the racetrack.  I contacted someone from the track, and they were nice enough to let me come and scrounge for the caps.  So, my daughter and I set out early this morning to dig through the trash to find these precious caps.

This was our haul after about 2 hours of work.  Having a skinny, flexible 9 year old along certainly helped.  She could fit into some small places that I couldn't.  She was actually excited about doing this.

I explained to her that she is in our family because of ATN.  I met her previous family through ATN.  Had I not been part of that organization, she wouldn't be my daughter.

When I explained to the man at the racetrack why I was looking for these, he was happy to help.  People do want to help, but they don't always know how.  This is a very simple way.  It didn't cost the track anything and they didn't have to do any work either, but they were able to contribute.  We collected 190 codes today.  We will be back after the races for the last few weeks of the season.

If you want to help families, I will willingly take your Pepsi codes.  You can e-mail them to me at kelly at  $50,000 is a huge amount of money for us and can do so much good for families.  It only takes a few minutes of your time and can help countless families.

And a great big thank you to Slinger Super Speedway for the help!!!  If you want to vote via Facebook or E-mail, you can find the information on the ATN Website.  Vote every day!!

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