When sisters-in-law Hope Blauner and Wendi Silverman returned home to Chappaqua, New York, they were full of ideas for their Pay It Forward Challenge money. They settled on two local organizations: Neighbors Link, which provides education and employment opportunities to Latino immigrants; and the Northern Westchester Shelter, which offers help to victims of domestic violence.
Through Neighbors Link organization director Carola Otero Bracco, Hope and Wendi heard about Friday night dinners—a time for families to socialize while having a meal together. Following dinner, parents participate in workshops and a children's Head Start program. Inspired by the program, Hope and Wendi sent an e-mail to friends asking for donations of books and crafts for the children's area. In just two short days, they had enough donations to fill two SUVs!
Hope and Wendi also gave the program a $200 gift card to Staples for office supplies and another $200 gift card to Target for paper goods. They also donated $600 to send one of the Neighbors Link volunteers to computer training.
They were so inspired by the tireless commitment shown by Carola and job bank manager Louisa that they wanted to surprise them with something special. Armed with donations from local businesses, they presented the women with a shopping spree at a clothing boutique, a makeover and hairstyling from two salons, and dinner for two!