Sunday, November 25, 2012

Cookies and Milk

Carol's personality and appearance does not represent a musician at all. (don't judge Tracey) but when she plays the guitar I get goosebumps and tears! After hearing her play I couldn't understand why she wasn't busy with bookings. So much talent! I thought I would help her do some marketing and get her some gigs.

I encouraged her to come up with a price sheet and some business cards, only she didn't have access to 
a computer and printer. So, I did it for her. Then I helped her formulate a marketing plan to go out and get some business.

In the interim I decided to create an event at Hearts called "Cookies and Milk". Moms and toddlers would come and pay $6.00 for an hour of music, story time and of course cookies and milk. $3.00 of the price would be donated to Beaumont Hospital for the "Heart Screening" program for youth heart screening to detect heart defects. (More on that later).

I posted it on facebook, made flyers and handed them out to the merchants, posted them anywhere they would allow, uploaded the flyer on Patch, Metro Parent and sent it in to the Northville Record for the calendar. You'll see that this was the normal course of action for promoting events at Hearts of Inspiration.

The first two were a bust, but I didn't give up. The third one was great, we had about six or seven children. It was a blast! The little ones really enjoyed the songs Carol played with cute little finger plays.

The event was never a break even with food and paying the Music Lady. I considered it another
form of advertising and hoped that would eventually result in a party or class. We averaged five or six kids for a while and in the process I made new friends with some great families who live in downtown Northville. We continued the event for  a while but when it was time for school, schedules changed and the event fell apart.

In total, we raised $84 for Beaumont. I was embarrassed but decided to have another fundraiser later by selling used books. I did the same promoting as always, plus set up a display inside and outside the store. Well, let's just say that I ended up donating the books to the library.

Very discouraged, I didn't understand how it was possible to be ineffective at this even when it's for the greater good! 

Carol was great! she would come every week before the event to warm up and practice. She would spend time before each show putting together activities that she thought the kids would enjoy. She was adamant that there was some educational value.

Carol was not exactly full of excitement in fact, at times I would have to act goofy for the kids because she would lose their attention from time to time. I didn't mind though. I like to get into the act and really admire people who entertain.

At the end of each event when I would pay her it brought her to tears. She was so thankful to be given the opportunity to play her guitar that she would often bring me gifts! I made it a point to reciprocate which would often fluster her. You see, she had nobody to do nice things for her. She and her mother live in tiny apartment where they have lived since Carol's Dad passed away. He was a writer for a prominent economic publication. I understand that he was brilliant but had been very vocal about China and the effect on the US economy. He was eventually blacklisted and terminated from his job, a career that he was very dedicated to. Soon after, he took his own life. Carol took her father's death very hard which caused emotional and social problems for her.  She is kind and very loyal but lacks skills that make her employable.

Carol's moments of happiness with me have made me realize there was some success after all!

Next: Be my guest

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