Blanca Sapelli, Miami

I still remember receiving my first ReachingU mailing brochure in Miami, asking for a donation in the early 2000’s. After some years living here I was well aware of and participating in this very American tradition of fundraising, where almost everybody contributes yearly to many causes. They are small amounts indeed, but the strength lies in the numbers, and thus allows you to help many different organizations dear to your heart: your local firefighters, your kids’ schools, Operation Smile, Doctors without Borders, LIVESTRONG, St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, to name a few. Unlike all of the countries where we had lived before, the list extended well beyond the church – it was endless.

I found the idea of being able to help Uruguayan children and vulnerable adults in need in this very same way just genius. Soon thereafter, a group of volunteers was formed in Miami and I was asked to help in organizing some fundraising events, which were very modest at the beginning but gave us great joy.

Over the years, more and more Uruguayans moved here bringing new skills and businesses, and the fundraisers have grown larger and more sophisticated. I made many lasting friendships among the volunteers, and have always liked the transparency and accountability of the great team managing the funds and supervising the projects in Montevideo. Many members of my family also got involved there, so I have firsthand knowledge of all their hard work, the excellent results and the real impact of the implementation of those programs. When ReachingU chose to focus all their projects on education, I could not have agreed more with that priority. Bravo!

I have great memories of many of the events I was able to help organize. But although last year’s dinner at the Atchugarry Art Center was spectacular, with many professionals involved, I remember fondly one of the first ones: a very small dinner in 2012 at the Key Biscayne Beach Club, with Father Gonzalo Aemilius (leading the Liceo Jubilar at the time) as our speaking guest. We had to order and pick up all the food and drinks ourselves, do the set up and decorations, clean thereafter. Seeing my daughter helping to welcome and collect payments from the guests at the front table, my son and his best friend tending the wine bar, the beautiful sunset on the beach and everybody spellbound with Gonzalo’s presentation…

Looking forward to many more great moments like this!