My name is Alexa Nazarbechian and I am the Smile Farms Summer 2020 Intern. When I discovered my internship would be conducted virtually due to the global pandemic, I could not imagine how fundraising could possibly continue since social distancing guidelines prohibit people from gathering together at events. However, within days of my arrival we created the idea of a peer-to-peer fundraiser for the 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. Interns. We raise money through each of the participants simply posting about the fundraiser on their social media platforms and spreading the word to their family and friends. All proceeds go directly to providing the differently abled Smile Farmers with “At Home” Grow Kits, since they cannot work their beloved jobs on the physical campuses. These Grow Kits bring the farm to the Smile Farmers and allow them to explore their creativity and feel a part of their Smile Farms community during an especially isolated time.
With the help of my team, I created several social media and text templates for the participants to use in their fundraising. I also created a fundraising page for the project on our Give Lively donor platform, allowing people to donate directly to their participant’s page with the touch of a button. Working with my peers to help make this happen has truly been a rewarding experience and has taught me how important it is to build relationships, even virtually. I’m proud that I was able to make a difference for the Smile Farmers during an incredibly difficult time in their lives. With only several posts and emails, we have already surpassed our initial goal of $2,500! If you’d like to help us reach our new goal and continue to make a difference, you can make a donation of any amount here. I hope this blog inspires others to get involved and change the lives of people with developmental disabilities, even just by giving them a smile on their face. Even though my internship ends in August, I intend to continue to fundraise for Smile Farms. I’ve seen first-hand what a positive impact it has, and it’s so simple! If you want to learn more or get started on your own peer-to-peer fundraising campaign to benefit our Smile Farmers, please contact Rebecca Tillman at firstname.lastname@example.org.