February 27, 2018
Last year, after our Walmart office chose Prospect, Inc., as the charity they would support during WBT’s 30th anniversary giving campaign, Walmart Office Manager Carol Burlison noticed a wish list posted on the door of Prospect’s program director, Laura Swanson. Besides a string of other items that the Walmart team would eventually donate or help procure, Carol learned that Prospect had a huge need for someone to teach sign language to their staff, so they could communicate better with some of their service recipients.
Last June, our bank president helped get the word out to all WB&T employees about Prospect’s special need. After seeing the request, I contacted a lady I used to go to church with named Poppy Steele, who teaches sign language. At the time, Poppy said they did not have anyone who could go and teach the Prospect staff - but she said they were working on a sign language DVD/curriculum series that would be available for purchase in the near future. I knew this would be a gift that keeps on giving for Prospect, as it would allow them to continually train new staff and volunteers!
At the time, Poppy wasn’t sure when the curriculum series would be finished. I continued to stay in touch with her and with Laura Swanson at Prospect for several months. Finally, in early February of this year, I received the email from Poppy letting me know the series was finished and ready for sale! I contacted Laura Swanson at Prospect right away to confirm they still had this need, and they did.
I knew the $200 price tag for the Curriculum series would be very achievable, especially if everyone rallied together- so my campaign started. I started in the Northern Region of WBT, since that’s who I know. It only took a few of weeks of fundraising to reach the goal.
Since the whole process had taken a while, it felt like a real victory to finally purchase the materials for Prospect. The items included a DVD of sign language vocabulary; a curriculum guide; a booklet about signing for emergencies; and a few other books.
The only thing more fulfilling than picking up the materials was being able to present them to Prospect in person. Meeting some of Prospect’s staff and service recipients, and seeing firsthand how this small gesture will help, was very rewarding. I wish every fellow employee who donated was able to see how impactful this will be for them!
All of our offices had local charities we supported last year, but I’m glad Carol and her team were so committed to share this need with our WB&T family. It’s a great feeling to know that, through teamwork, we could show the true spirit of Wilson Bank by making a meaningful difference to an organization that does so much good work.