When I was preparing for the birth of my first son, I was excited about all the new stuff that came with a new baby. The car seats, strollers, bouncy seats, toys–I wanted it all. I felt like I needed it all. I was caught up in believing that, in order to raise a happy child, it was necessary to have all this “stuff”. I soon realized that children don’t need “stuff”. Children need love and attention. It also became obvious to me what I wanted for my children. I wanted them to be happy, healthy, confident and educated kids– the same goals all mothers have for their children.
In August of 2009, I learned a friend and former basketball teammate was ill with gallbladder cancer. Her former teammates and coach rushed to Kentucky to rally around her. The months following our visit she continued to battle cancer as we continued to struggle with what we could do to help her and her family. As former athletes, it was instinctual for us to want to jump in and help. We were used to facing difficult challenges and working together to solve them. Cancer was a challenge we had never faced and it was apparent that we would not be able to influence the outcome this time.
In April 2010, Ashley lost her battle with cancer. She left behind four young children and her devoted husband Dave. At her funeral, I learned that Ashley had made a request to one of her husband’s best friends. Her request was to make sure that her children attend college. An account was set up for the kids and emails began to circulate. Ashley and Dave had a large community of family and friends around them who were eager to help. Despite great intentions, the efforts to raise money for the children’s college fund fell short. It fell short not because people didn’t want to help; it fell short because the process of getting money to the account was cumbersome. In my mind there needed to be an easier way.
Acting on an instinct to help a friend and the desire to reduce the “stuff” in my own children’s lives, I created The Gift of Education, an online gift registry for educational funds. By offering a centralized place where family and friends can contribute money toward a child’s educational fund, The Gift of Education turns saving for a child’s education into a community effort. It’s all about teamwork!
For more information about The Gift of Education, please visit our How it Works page.