Today we are excited to announce the top 5 finalists for our Do Good in March promotion! We were thrilled to see all of the good deeds that were submitted on Pinterest throughout the month of March, and we had a really tough time narrowing down to just 5 people. Thanks so much to everyone who participated!
The finalists: For the next round of the contest, we’re letting you decide who should win the grand prize! To help you decide who to vote for, we talked to each of the finalists to find out more about their good deeds and ways you can get involved, too. You can read each of their stories below.
To vote: Visit the finalist’s board that we’ve set up on Pinterest and “like” your favorite finalist in order to give them your vote. The finalist with the most likes by noon on Wednesday, April 11 (Eastern Standard Time) will win a set of 100 1-ply, 1-color letterpressed wedding invitations, reply cards, and envelopes! If you need an invitation to join Pinterest, email DoGood@bellafigura.com and we’ll send you an invitation right away (be sure to start following our boards, too!). The grand prize winner will be announced by April 16, 2012.
Meet Brittney Aldous – she volunteers once a month and creates extra-special meals for the less fortunate at her local food kitchen.
The wedding: We’re getting married September 28, 2012 at the Slivertip Gold Resort in Canmore, Alberta. It’s such a picturesque setting and the venue goes perfectly with our ‘rustic chic’ theme! We’re also tying in the theme with burlap table runners, lantern centerpieces and little tree seedlings as our favors. After 7 years, we’re both very excited to finally tie the knot!
Where she started: I first worked in the food kitchen with my group at work and since then I have been hooked. Just knowing I was able to add something positive to someone’s day definitely brightened mine. And now I try to go once a month and cook up something absolutely delicious – something that you wouldn’t normally find served!
Why you should do it, too: A lot of people do not realize how fortunate they are. Taking time out of your day to be able to give back (to any cause) is so worthwhile. Even if it just brings a smile to someone’s face, you know you’ve made some sort of a difference to that person, and it can just take off from there! Helping the less fortunate enjoy a nice meal once in a while is the least I can do.
Brittney’s inspiration: My boss is actually the person who inspired me to get started in this cause. He made an effort to get our group out helping others, which took out of his overall budget (seeing as we charge by 15-minute intervals!). He also takes time out of his personal life, and the dedication and enthusiasm he regularly put forth was the inspiration I needed to continue with this cause on my own.
Favorite Bella design: Janelle Elegance – I love the design. To me it definitely has its traditional side, but the ‘bubbles’ add some extra flair and softness without being over the top!
Meet Beth D’Angelo – she recently traveled to the Dominican Republic to provide dental care to the less fortunate in Haitian migrant villages.
The wedding: I am the very happy and proud mother of the groom! Bill and Elizabeth will be married on September 1, 2012, less than 5 months away! They are now living in Seattle, but will be moving back to Western New York in July, and they are right now working on the details of their wedding celebration. The wedding will be in the late afternoon, in a small church near the shore of Lake Erie, with dinner and dancing to follow in an evening reception nearby.
The story behind the good deed: My trip to Dominican Republic in March was my fourth one to serve the Haitian people living and working seasonally in the sugar cane fields near La Romana. My husband and I saw a website from a hospital near the area that was built by volunteers asking for help and contacted them. We bring down a group of volunteers annually to travel to the villages and treat as many patients as possible by extracting teeth, treating infections, doing fillings, cleaning teeth, giving oral hygiene education, flouride treatments and sealants. Bill and Elizabeth were able to participate last year, and will again next year. We are inspired to continue with this work because we see how our actions help the people we serve, not only in treating their disease, but in showing them that others care and treat them with the respect and concern that all people deserve.
What you can do: I hope that others who read this are inspired to use their talents to reach out to others who are in need of assistance, no matter how small it may seem. By everyone doing a little, a lot can be accomplished!
Beth’s inspiration: My husband is my inspiration — he is a man of boundless energy and good will. He finds ways to make the impossible possible! My hope is that Bill and Elizabeth find the same passion in their marriage that we have.
Favorite Bella invitations: The wedding will be a traditional affair, with a splash of modern merriment thrown in. That’s why we love the Loretta Formal invitations — traditional elegance with modern touch.
Meet Mayra Gomez – she provides Spanish translations that help make the transition to American society an easier one for newcomers.
The big day: My partner Candace and I are having a destination wedding (commitment ceremony since we can’t get married yet in California) in Puerto Vallarta on May 26, 2013. It will be a true blending of both of us. I am originally from Jalisco, Mexico (same state where Puerto Vallarta is located) so it will be nice to get married there. The ceremony will have some Mexican and African American traditions to represent both of us – papel picado, bright colors, jumping the broom – and the reception will be a blend of romantic, classic, and modern touches.
Mayra’s role: As a member of the LGBT community, I am constantly trying to play a role in the fight for equality. Volunteering, however small my role, was a way for me to help transgender individuals go through an important step in their transition, and to let them know that there are people out there who care.
Why you should support this cause, too: Transgender individuals continue to be one of the most marginalized people in society, even within the LGBT community. If we hope that one day all individuals are treated with respect, dignity, and equality, then every minority group should be included.
Mayra’s role model: My mother has been an inspiration for why I try and do good. She is one of the most generous individuals I know, and has always instilled in me that it is our responsibility to help out those who need it. I have taken that and expanded this to include every facet in my life, whether it’s helping out a friend, donating money, or speaking up for those of us who are, at times, voiceless.
Favorite Bella design: Barcelona
Meet Carol McDermott – she uses her professional skills to help military veterans re-enter the workforce by leading or volunteering at interviewing and resume skills workshops.
The wedding: Our wedding will be taking place at the Palace Church in the beautiful Frederiksborg Castle in Hillerød, Denmark on June 23rd. This location is very special to us because it is where Henrik was baptized and also where he proposed to me in October on a bended knee in the castle gardens on the one year anniversary of our first date. Our reception will take place in Copenhagen and will incorporate both Danish and American wedding traditions.
What inspired your good deed? Over the years, I’ve led or participated in many volunteer training seminars focused on computer/ resume and interviewing skills with organizations such as iPrep, Harlem Project Hope and Dress for Success to help Americans struggling to re-enter the workforce. It’s great to know that I am having a positive impact on participants and their families. While watching the Today Show on March 27th, I learned about the “Hiring Our Heroes” Job Fair taking place in New York on the USS Intrepid Aircraft Carrier the following day. I immediately contacted the organizers from General Electric and offered my services to lead a volunteer seminar similar to ones I have led in the past.
Why should other people support this cause? Military veterans have sacrificed so much on behalf of our country and I feel that it is our obligation to do what we can to help them in return. I consider myself fortunate to know something about resumes and interviewing and am very grateful to have the opportunity to pass my skills along. Veterans bring tremendous skills to employers such as leadership, teamwork, reliability and poise under pressure, and many of these skills simply cannot be attained through on the job training or seminars. So whether you are an employer considering hiring military veterans or a volunteer considering helping with a resume/ interview skills workshop, I can guarantee that you will get much more out of the experience than you put in.
Carol’s inspiration: I have friends and family members who are either active or retired from military service and this has undoubtedly influenced my support of programs like “Hire Our Heroes”. I am also very proud of my mom, who has spent her entire career working in early childhood development and intervention helping families diagnose disabilities and developmental delays in children ages 1-3 and intervening to help them reach their full potential. This is not a high-paying career, but my mom does it for the fulfillment she gets from helping children and parents, really changing lives.
Meet Katie Parker – she supports the All-American Mutt Rescue, an organization that helps dogs find loving homes.
The big day: Our wedding will be held on July 28, 2012 in my hometown of Lynchburg, Virginia. We have planned a Southern style wedding filled with good music, great company, and delicious food. My fiancé and I have decided that in lieu of favors we would like to give a donation to the All-American Mutt Rescue to support their wonderful cause.
Katie’s inspiration: My family adopted two dogs from All-American Mutt Rescue about three and a half years ago, and we’ve kept in close contact with them ever since. The passion that the founders of All-American Mutt Rescue have for animals truly inspires me, and their motto of “Rescue…rehome…real love” is a wonderful representation of this organization. As an animal-lover, I would love to see every animal have a forever home, and by supporting this organization I can help make that become a reality.
Why you should help: The All-American Mutt Rescue is a wonderful organization. It was founded by a couple from Huddleston, Virginia who decided to dedicate their lives to helping animals find a loving home. While they have volunteers that come to help out, they do the majority of the work themselves and keep all of the animals at their house. They make sure that each is well cared for until they can find their forever home. Many of these dogs are pulled from the pound where they would otherwise be put down and not given a chance. In these tough economic times, animals are being abused, neglected, and dumped more than ever. It is our job to help these innocent animals and support organizations like this one.
Katie’s role models: My parents have always inspired me to do good things. Growing up in a loving, Christian home I was taught that you help others in any way you can. It could be anywhere from helping to feed the hungry or opening the door for a stranger. My parents have always spent a great amount of time volunteering for various things from coaching my softball teams to working with the youth group at church. I feel very blessed to have such wonderful parents that were not only great role models but that also filled me with strong morals and values.
Katie’s favorite invitation: My favorite Bella Figura invitation design is String Calligraphy – I fell in love with it the first time I saw it!