Employees Raise Money to Benefit the Homeless
Talk About Team Building…
A few of our employees decided to be total badasses and tackle the Tough Mudder South West in the UK this summer. This 10 mile, 20+ obstacle course tests the limits of competitors and requires teamwork to complete. Most of the obstacles you need to help and be helped, and not just with your own team, but everyone around you. My personal favorite quote from our team:
“Definitely lost all sense of personal space… not sure how many people had to touch my butt to help me up that mud hill!” – Odette
Our team decided to fundraise to support two different organizations that focus on homelessness: Caring in Bristol in the UK and StandUp for Kids in the US. Each employee surpassed their donation goals and collectively raised nearly double their team target, rounding out at £1,281.40 total. Fantastic work, and thank you so much to everyone who contributed to support these causes!
Odette, Latoria, and Paul were originally recruited by Menyee, who was on holiday leading up to the event and wasn’t able to join the team fundraising efforts. Add in some family and friends, and they rolled into the Tough Mudder with a team of 20 people! Latoria flew into the UK from Chicago the night before and was operating on just a few hours of sleep; Paul had to keep checking that she wasn’t straining her neck sleeping on the car ride that morning in between moments of calming a nervous friend. Odette woke up ready to go, but found out upon returning home later that day that she’d left her full breakfast on the counter, forgotten and uneaten, and did the whole course on an empty stomach. Still, amidst all the craziness, they succeeded! Check out the Tough Mudder footage:
I gave everyone a few days to recover and hopefully wash all the mud out of their hair before diving in with questions. But, since I couldn’t be there in person, I simply had to know how it went.
You selected nonprofits benefitting the homeless for this event. Can you talk a little bit about why this issue is important to you?
Odette: “I wanted to do something that benefited a local cause, and Bristol has many people who have found themselves without a home. Caring in Bristol also runs Caring at Christmas, which is an effort to make sure that every homeless person in Bristol gets warmth of shelter and something to eat over the coldest of times.”
Latoria: “Simply put, every human should be awarded life’s natural necessities… food, shelter, and clothing. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to be without a home, but to be so young and face the same challenge is difficult for me to fathom. This small organization is doing really big things across US communities that are saving the lives of our youth. Truthfully, so many of us could find ourselves without a home if the perfect set of unfortunate circumstances occurred—and I see myself as no different than those that have fallen on this unfortunate time.”
Paul: “We do have quite a lot of homeless people in Bristol and I always find it hard just walking past, especially on cold winter mornings. I just can’t imagine what it would be like to live on the streets at those times, or any time in fact. So, when Odette said she was going to be raising money for Caring in Bristol, I thought it would be a great idea to join her in the fundraising.”
What was the most difficult part of the Tough Mudder course? Why?
Odette: “Being used as a human rope by a giant on the mud slide hill!”
Latoria: ”The Arctic Enema. The muddy ice bath made me delirious! I could hear Paul calling me, but I couldn’t see him standing right in front of me! Plus, the electric shocks, the pin in my shoe… there were a few difficult times.”
Paul: “I’d have to say the obstacle I was most worried about was ‘Electroshock Therapy’ and I proved to be right…. it was horrible, you’ve just finished running over 10 miles, jumped over 10-foot walls, crawled through mud, climbed up a 15 foot tube whilst cold water is falling on your head, slid down into ice cold water that just instantly takes your breath away as well as 15+ other obstacles. Then you’re faced with hundreds of electric wires dangling down from a wooden frame, the floor is just pure mud and you have to run through it! Of course we all did it, but there were some rather shouty rude comments after.”
Menyee: “I found the hero walls difficult as there were two 10-foot walls you had to get over! I’m not very tall (just over 5 feet), so I definitely needed help! The team were fantastic in getting everyone over and down again. The Tough Mudder is… tough!”
What was the funniest thing that happened all day?
Odette: “My hero moment… running followed by a belly flop back into the Block Ness Monster to go help our friend Keyz. The crowd did the full stereotypical, ‘Oooooooh!’”
Latoria: “Going head first over a 10-foot wall with my hands on the foot rail, legs in the air, and Menyee looking up at me in fear and concern.”
Paul: “To be honest the team I was doing it with just made it a funny day we all had such a laugh getting muddy and electrocuted together.”
Menyee: “Just seeing people’s expressions as we face a particularly challenging obstacle; there is a mixture of, ‘Why are we doing this?’ and, ‘Yay, I’ll give it a go!'”
Will you compete in another Tough Mudder?
Odette: “Oh, I’ve already signed up for next year.”
Latoria: “I’m… thinking about it! Ha, we will see. It was intense, but fun!”
Paul: “Hmmmm a few of us may have already signed up for next year’s Tough Mudder! It was just a great challenge as well as motivating me to actually use my gym membership, I just couldn’t not do it again. It was just such a friendly event where people/teams weren’t just out for themselves everyone helped everyone and that really got I think all of us into the spirit and to be part of what is called the ‘Mudder Nation’!”
Menyee: “I would do another Tough Mudder but it would depend on the date for next year. Loved the team spirit and we all had a great laugh.”
Helping Fight Homelessness
Caring in Bristol is an effective local charity working to deliver support to homeless and vulnerable people in Bristol, UK 365 days a year. They strive to create a society where everyone has a home, has hope and is a part of their community. They also deliver projects around homelessness that engage an amazing community of volunteers to bring people together to make change happen. These projects include the 365 Shelter, the Bristol Nightstop, Caring at Christmas, the Survival Handbook, and more.
StandUp for Kids is a nationally recognized non-profit charity that works directly with thousands of homeless youth across the United States. The organization was founded in 1990 by a group of volunteers in San Diego, CA. Starting from a program in one city, StandUp For Kids has grown to sustain locations in 17 cities across 10 states and the District of Columbia. We remain a nearly all-volunteer organization that prioritizes the needs of the youth we serve. StandUp for Kids aims to empower homeless and at-risk youth toward lifelong personal growth, and to create in these youth a sincere belief in themselves through open, straightforward counseling, mentoring, and life-skills training.