On October 29, Hurricane Sandy hit 1000 miles of the Eastern Seaboard like no other Hurricane in recent decades. As a Long Island resident, we were evacuated for Hurricane Irene and saw our hamlet sustain serious damage from the ocean breaching Dune Roads, Bays and Canal communities. So when the news said this was going to a larger storm, we didn’t even doubt that it would and could have it’s way with us. The wrath of wind, water and storm surge are fickle and willfull factors, one could never know where your luck would lay on the roulette wheel and where the storm would exact it’s fury. For my community, we were lucky on so many levels. Even though the ocean did indeed pass through some of my neighbor’s living rooms and basements, we were soooooooo much more lucky than the Rockaways, Manhattan or the New Jersey coastline.
I had been readying my Kickstarter campaign before the Hurricane, but after the storm, everything looked and felt so different. My project hardly seemed important in light of such greater challenges. So I put it on hold and turned to things that needed to be done immediately. As November came on, the holidays were fast approaching. Geez, this just seems like an awful time to think about asking for Backers to support my next recording when we’re in the throws of communities recovering and our minds are turning to family time, holiday meals and that crazy holiday shopping. Should I wait til the New Year? I gave that serious thought, and then I just closed my eyes and counted. How can I connect my work with the world? How can I connect more profoundly with my listeners? Aha, I’ll earmark 5% of the budget to something I’m passionate about – Hurricane Sandy Relief – push the launch button and start moving forward.
During much of the campaign, I was consumed with marketing and promotion. I’ve never embarked on such a journey. Ever the prideful Leo, I haven’t always been so good at asking for help, but this ball started rolling down the hill and I had to get my running shoes on. There were ups and downs in the 35 day long fund drive, plenty of time to get excited, be filled with self doubt and everything in between. Slowly but surely though, those CD preorders started to add up and it was turning into a possibility. One Angel touched down on December 12th, promising a chunk of money that put the project over the halfway mark. This caused another big flurry of investors and momentum. On December 15th, another large donation was promised and on the 17th we reached our goal. Besides being equal parts thrilled and shocked, I felt humbled by 203 people’s generosity and faith in me. Suddenly I had a recording contract, a promise to these friends, acquaintances and perfect strangers to make the very best recording imaginable.
While the rehearsal and the recording sessions are booked, there was still some business to attend to, spending that 5%. I researched many things, but really wanted to find something personal to fund. I found two things that interested me. In my Backers honor we outfitted St. Frances de Sales School in Rockaway with their early learning music instruments they lost in the Hurricane’s wake. St. Frances has been an on going resource for drop off donated items and people to gather and get things they might need. They have done so much to help their community and continue to do so. And I also donated $500 to the organization Hamptons Hurricane Relief Fund that was founded by the dynamic duo, Romi Sloan and Kym Smith, owner and manager respectively of Gardens by Romi. They have been driving back and forth from Southampton to the Rockaways since November bringing building supplies, coats, furniture, volunteers, you name it. They made a difference in the post trauma and continue to do so months after the event. They are dedicated to the cause and I am thrilled to personally support and endorse their passionate efforts.
So there you have it, a great kiskstart to a new year. People helping people, passing it on and planting new seeds. I thank my Backers, each and every one of them, who are helping me make my next dream project. And I thank them for providing me an opportunity to give back in my moment of good fortune.
Wishing you a very happy and healthy 2013. I encourage you to dream big and put it out there. I’m proof that it can really happen.
Yours Sincerely, Lauren