Kayla Houchin of Fessenden, North Dakota, hosted a fundraiser for The GOD’S CHILD Project on Friday, July 13. The combination silent and live auction, followed by spaghetti supper and a dance, raised close to $12,000 – all the proceeds will go directly to the women and children of The GOD’S CHILD Project.
“I’ve been pretty busy the last couple of weeks,” Kayla said. After sending out between 250-300 e-mails and letters, followed up by phone calls, Houchin was able to secure around 100 donated items for the auctions. Her persistence paid off. “[The money raised] will change lives and make the world just a little better and brighter,” Kayla said.
The highest bids at the auction went toward three signed footballs by all members of the NDSU football team, who were 2011 National Champions. One football sold for $1000, another got $900, and the third one was raffled off, the total amount of raffle tickets sold totaling $390.
Also up for auction were signed items from Percy Harvin of the Minnesota Vikings, country star Martina McBride and chef Bobby Flay, as well as signed cookbooks from Paula Dean and Food Network personality Guy Fieri.
Golf course passes and three hotel rooms in Fargo rounded out donated items. Kayla’s mom and her friend put together around 20 gift baskets, and Houchin made cheesecake and cupcakes to sell. “I also bought some wall hangings to auction off,” Kayla said. “I got one for about $40 and it sold for $350!”
Houchin had traveled to Guatemala in May 2009 with her sociology class from NDSU. The group was there for two weeks, during which they built a house and volunteered at Casa Jackson. “Our days were very full – we ate breakfast at 7 a.m.,” Kayla said. “But we relaxed most nights!”
Every year since being in Guatemala, Houchin has raised money for The GOD’S CHILD Project. In 2010 she ran a marathon, and money raised from sponsors totaled over $2000. In 2011, Kayla cut off a foot of hair (“my hair’s really short now!) and donated the $4000 she raised from her undertaking to Guatemala. “I wanted to do this because I knew it would be personally challenging and a learning experience. Most importantly, I wanted to further try and give back a little to an organization that completely changed my life over three years ago and still impacts my life today,” Houchin said.
Even though the attendance at the auction, held in the festival hall in Fessenden, was a bit low, “people gave very generously,” Kayla said. Some who couldn’t make it to the event sent in monetary donations. Houchin is truly appreciative of all who showed their support. “No matter what I have ever decided to try and do for GCP, I have always received unreal, overwhelming support from my community. One of the best feelings I have ever experienced in my life is knowing I can actually do something and contribute.”
For Houchin, volunteering comes naturally. “In Guatemala I realized every little thing can make a difference… one drop does make a difference for someone somewhere. I firmly believe that the greatest cause in the world today is humanity. I don’t care if you are my neighbor or live 100,000 miles away – you deserve food, shelter, clean water, an education and love. The best feeling is actually turning your idea into a reality. I have had the opportunity to do this a few times only because of the people behind me. I am truly blessed.”
Houchin hopes to return to Guatemala in the future, maybe even next summer. Her message is powerful: “The only limits you have in life are the ones you place upon yourself – the world is literally yours for the taking. Do something that matters and leave it a better place – why else do you think God put you and me here?”
The GOD’S CHILD Project is infinitely grateful to Kayla for her continuing efforts, both in Guatemala and here at home.