Friday, September 11, 2015

The Chicken Dancer

It’s been an emotional week. God is stirring things up inside me, inviting change. I wrote on Monday about my friend Vicky, on Wednesday about the refugee crisis, and yesterday I cried as I watched a bunch of little Haitian children do the Chicken Dance online.

They were dancing in honor of Aimee Fritz.

Aimee moved here (not too far from my neck of the woods in Georgia) this summer from Wheaton, Illinois, where I lived for 15 years. Aimee and I are both friends with Pam, and we’d met two years ago at a Christmas boutique at Pam's house.

At that time, Aimee and her family were raising money for Blood:Water Mission as part of a year-long, self-proclaimed Family Compassion Focus (FCF). They were selling pallet stars wrapped in Christmas tree lights and other handmade items. Pam’s sale was the final push to meet their goal. I’d never heard of a FCF, but I admired Aimee’s desire to help her children understand that every single person--no matter how old--can change somebody’s world with small actions.

Fast forward to three weeks ago. Aimee’s children had the cruelest trick known to school-aged kids played on them by the state of Georgia: their move had robbed them of three weeks of their summer vacation. The one upside? Now the kids had the choice to take the bus to school after years of walking or being driven by their parents. For Greta, the youngest, it was a small novelty in the midst of a lot of challenging change.

But novelty quickly wears thin when you have to experience it at o-dark-thirty, and each day Greta had to get on the bus and look into the eyes of all those kids and not know a single one by name.

One day, in the spirit of “ whatever it takes to make your child smile,” Aimee did what any mother would do: something to make her smile. But Aimee chose to do something I’m not sure most other mothers would have. She did the Chicken Dance at the bus stop! After all, it was dark...

Ah, the things we do for love.

It worked. Greta smiled, the dance became a daily tradition, and it began to gain a following. Each day the kids on the bus pressed their faces to the windows to see if that crazy mother would shake her proverbial tail feathers and flap her arms.

So she did.

The things we do for love.

Then an idea came to her. Aimee's own friends had begun to ask to see the Chicken Dancer. So Aimee decided someone else besides her friends, Greta, and her bus mates should benefit from this request. She decided that "someone" was the Fritz FCF for this year--the people of Haiti.

At the time of the Chicken Dance, Haiti Partners was in the middle of a “back to school” fundraising campaign to provide 50 scholarships for needy students. So Aimee presented a challenge on Facebook: for $1500 in donations to Haiti Partners, she’d not only do the Chicken Dance at the bus stop again, she’d dress up in a chicken suit and allow a video of it to be posted on Facebook!

After three days of social media hype, chagrined self-promotion, and lots of laughs, that goal was met. Then--why not?--she upped the ante to $3600. THAT goal was met about 12 hours before she danced this past Wednesday!

The thing Aimee did for love, for her daughter Greta, and for her sons and daughters in Haiti who she has never met personally, raised over $10,000 for Haiti Partners!

When I found that out yesterday, I was moved to tears.

Ten thousand dollars because one woman was willing to do something, even something silly, for love.

Ten thousand dollars because one woman wants her children to grow up thinking of the needs of others and believing they are world changers.

Ten thousand dollars because God is softening hearts--like mine--for those He calls "the least of these."

And He says that whatever I do for them, I'm doing for Him--even if it’s the Chicken Dance.

The Chicken Dance challenge ends tonight at midnight. Click here to give!

1 comment:

  1. Such a great story! Nolan woke me at 6 am today- I was less than enthused. But he was adamant that I take him to Starbux for a hot chocolate for the girl he likes. She lives close to us, and has had a hard week, so he put the drink on her doorstep and then texted her as he walked away. I love that he did that- but I often wonder- when would he do that, or something like that for someone he doesn't know? What Aimee did, was instill that very idea- not just in her own child's mind- but so many others! So glad you shared!