You wake up one morning, and as you’re going about your normal routine you glance out at your front lawn. But it looks a bit different than usual. Somehow, a flock of plastic flamingos has made its way to your lawn.
Over the last few months, members of the Woodmont Christian Church in Tennessee have experienced “flockings” courtesy of their youth group. It’s not a prank but one of the fundraising strategies the youth group developed for their “Guats Up” initiative.
Their goal? To build a house in Guatemala for a family that needs one.
Woodmont’s congregation has supported the work of Unbound for a number of years. In 2008, their youth group visited their sponsored friends in Guatemala and saw firsthand how the Unbound program works. After the trip they decided to return to Guatemala every three years. This summer, the 20 teens from Woodmont’s youth group took part in the third such trip.
While in Guatemala, the teens visited two families who were able to build new homes thanks to funds raised after Woodmont’s second trip. Hearing the families express their gratitude and seeing the impact the new homes had on the families inspired the Woodmont teens. On their last night in Guatemala they met to reflect on the experiences of the week and decided they also wanted to help a family in need build a new home.
“Our mission trip to Guatemala opened my eyes to the advantages I have,” said Ashley Buchanan, a high school senior who went on the trip. “I thought about what we could do to give back in some small way. Giving any of your gifts to others is a great way to help people, and Unbound gave us an amazing opportunity to help families in Guatemala.”
Each of the teens pledged to raise at least $100, which the church would match, to raise the $4,000 needed to build a new home in Guatemala. The flocking flamingos were one of the ways they planned to raise money. Members of the church could buy flamingo insurance, including the option, for a small donation, to nominate another member to be “flocked.”
Because of the overwhelming generosity of Woodmont members, most of the teens were able to meet their $100 goal just by spending an evening moving flamingos.
In September, the youth group hosted a panel discussion to share their trip with the rest of the church. More than 100 people attended, with many offering donations at the end of the event.
The Woodmont Youth Group came back from Guatemala with a goal to build a new home for one family. Because of their enthusiasm, hard work and creativity, they have raised almost $20,000. Instead of one home, they’ll be able to fund five. This group of teens brought the daily reality of Guatemalan families home to their church, and the congregation responded in a big way.
“It was so inspiring to see a group of high school students go beyond themselves to see the world through another’s eyes,” said Trey Flowers, minister of youth for Woodmont. “When they got back home, it was clear the trip had left a remarkable impact on their lives. Through the Guats Up fundraising initiative, they were able to use their gifts and ideas creatively to see that they can make a real difference in someone else’s life.”
Want to help? Donations to Homes helps families repair or rebuild in Unbound communities around the world.