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Posts Tagged ‘mustaches for kids’

charlotte

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

photo by: eric guzik

When we first moved to Charlotte, we thought it was a place we’d live for three years and be out, like a layover, a situation to be endured.  We had no idea we’d fall in love with Charlotte.

We should have known.  We arrived in mid-September, one of the best times of the year for the Queen City.  Carolina blue sky welcomed us the day we drove in and remained a constant sight for weeks thereafter.  The weather was perfect, it felt like the perfect 75-degree day, everyday and that awesome weather lasted well into December.

photo by: eric guzik

I remember having lunch at the Fox and Hound on Tryon Street, Uptown.  We had picked up several free magazines on the walk over: Uptown Magazine, Creative Loafing, and Skirt.  The waitress immediately engaged us in conversation upon arriving at our table.  I thought she was just a friendly server but the same hospitality was extended at the grocery store and Starbucks next day.  No one behind me in line batted an eye when the barista asked how I was, and actually waited for a response.  I felt like I had been transported into a foreign land.

A co-worker introduced me to NASCAR.  Another taught me Southern terms like, “over yonder,” “might could,” “having your picture made,” “mashing a button,” and “right quick.”  I learned that “bless your heart” was not a compliment.  I embraced the word, “y’all.”  I found the best fried chicken place ever (Price’s Chicken Coop) and drank sweet tea like it was spring water.

Football season arrived and we met friends of friends.  They were serious tailgaters who opened up their home to friends for every home game.  They continued the tradition even when they had their daughter.

There were a core group of 10 of us.  We ate, drank, and played together.  You could often find one of us at Connolly’s on 5th.  One other friend called us a herd.  We thought of ourselves as a commune.  If we were without a car, someone else let us borrow theirs.  If a washer or dryer was out, we’d go to another’s home.  We looked out for each other’s pets, houses, and spouses.  Eventually, our commune grew into a community of friends.  We had holiday dinners, celebrated birthdays, and toast accomplishments.  We took joint vacations.  We collected toys for children during the holidays, tried to help build a home for Habitat for Humanities, spearheaded Mustaches for Kids, to raise money for supplies needed in local classrooms and collected clothes for homeless men.

Hubby and I settled into Charlotte.  It felt like home.

So it goes without saying, it was extremely difficult to leave.  The freelance job I took in Boston became permanent.

I have no doubt we’ll be back in Charlotte, it may be just for a visit, in three years when my current contract is up, or when we retire.  But we’ll be back because we love Charlotte.

In the meantime, I’m bringing y’all to Boston.  (The phrase and not the literal y’all, though if you’re in town… let me know!)

Mustaches are Magical

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

If you think mustaches are somehow creepy, old fashioned or just for men with fire trucks or police cars – think again!  Mustaches are sexy (well at least in this case they are)!  And the men I’ve met through Mustaches for Kids are hip, handsome, fun, and young professionals.

Mustaches for Kids started three years ago.  Our friend Katie is the east region’s “head-honcha” of DonorsChoose.org, an online platform where teachers post much needed classroom projects and regular folks help fund them.  Katie needed a fundraiser for DonorsChoose.org and thought mustaches would be fun!  Our core group of 10 jumped on board, some begrudgingly.  We thought we’d get a few friends to grow and we’d raise some money.  That first year, the “few friends” became 70 young men.  And “some money” turned into $55,000.  What was most amazing – we tapped into a new, otherwise unengaged group of young men and introduced them to philanthropy.  The majority of the men were in their early 20’s to 30’s, unmarried and without children.  In all likelihood, they would not have started giving back to their community, least of all to the public school system, for another 10 years. 

The first year, we enticed guys to grow with the prizes.  The best and worst ‘staches win free beer for a year.  This year, Dan Black, who won for best ‘stache didn’t even know there was a prize.  In year three, we’ve found the men who are part of Mustaches for Kids did it for the camaraderie (we get together at a local bar every Thursday for four weeks), for the kids, and I guess because it’s silly.  And thanks to our guys, they got 1,092 people to donate, raising more than $58,000 to help more than 26,000 Charlotte-Mecklenburg students in high-need classrooms.  (And the money and matching funds are still coming in!)

(you can see more pictures from ‘Stache Bash 2010 here!)

Through this experience, I’ve learned there are really two types of men out there: those who will look a bit foolish and grow a mustache to raise money for a charitable endeavor and those who won’t.  I like hanging out with the guys who will.  They’re more fun and they’re conscientious enough to care about others a little bit more than caring about their appearance.