On Saturday, May 24, the Sean Anderson Foundation, Focus For Health Foundation, Crim Fitness Foundation, Flint Community Schools and AmeriCorps Michigan came together to host “Community Fun Day“!
The event served as a culmination of the combined efforts of so many who came together for our #HealFlintsKids campaign. What began in January 2016, as a response to President Obama’s State of Emergency in Flint, MI, #HealFlintKids went on to raise $82,755 for the Community Foundation of Greater Flint‘s “Flint Child Health & Development Fund“. The money deposited into the fund will be used to address the ongoing medical needs of the children affected by lead poisoning. At the time this article was published, $6.7 million dollars had been deposited into the fund.
The Sean Anderson Foundation could not have made such an impact in Flint, if not for the partnership of the Focus For Health Foundation (FFH). If not for the work of individuals like Sabha Abour, Shannon Mulvihill, Tiffany High and FFH founder Barry Segal, we would have been limited to only a financial contribution. With their support and commitment towards providing the children and residents of Flint with information and resources, we were able to create, print and distribute City of Flint approved lead informational handouts and booklets to over 5,000 residents. DOWNLOAD THE LEAD INFORMATIONAL HANDOUTS HERE: http://seanandersonfoundation.org/2016/03/12/whatdoesleadpoisoninglooklike/
Launched in partnership with the online crowd-sourcing platform CrowdRise, #HealFlintsKids was also able to raise the $82,755, thanks in large part to donations from Cleveland Brown’s Wide Receiver Andrew Hawkins, Roc Nation’s DJ Mustard and BOOTS, Comedian Hannibal Buress and the Michigan State University Interfraternity Council, in addition to the donation by the Focus For Health Foundation.
At this time, we also want to acknowledge the work of individuals in Flint like Lauren Holaly at the Crim Fitness Foundation. Not only did Lauren make Community Fun Day a reality, but Lauren also works with her team at the Crim Fitness Foundation every day to make the lives of children in Flint healthier!
No matter the size or amount of aid given, the Sean Anderson Foundation thanks every individual who was able to contribute towards the success of the #HealFlintsKids campaign! Together, we made a stand with the children of Flint to be of service to their health, and without your efforts, the magnitude and reach of the aid given would not be possible.
Thank you, for being a living example, that #ItTakesOnes because #OneManCanChangeTheWorld!
Special thanks to our event photographer Talia Mayden. A University of Michigan student, Talia began documenting the ongoing water crisis in Flint, back in February. In addition to snapping some photos, Talia took time to answer some questions about why she feels it is important for us to help those in Flint. You can continue to follow her journey here: www.TaliaMayden.com
The SAF applauds your efforts in choosing to document the activities in Flint. Can you tell us a little bit about how the Flint Water Crisis became an issue for you, and how you decided to be involved?
I don’t live far from Flint — I’m a student at the University of Michigan, and Ann Arbor is all of 50 minutes away from Flint. However, when the story of the water crisis first started to unfold, it only existed in shared Facebook posts for me. I knew the gist of what was going on– something was wrong with Flint’s water and something about the government being involved — but it seemed awfully far away for only being 50 minutes down Highway 23. Something about that bothered me. So, I began researching. In the process, I came across Terraca Rogers and hunted her down on Facebook. She graciously agreed to meet me along with her three children. Being in her house, joining her in picking up bottled water from the fire station, seeing the scars on her son’s hands from bathing in lead-poisoned water…the water crisis in Flint was no longer sympathetic Facebook posts and faux-outrage. It was very real. Driving home from my first meeting with Terraca, I felt like I couldn’t breathe. While not having safe running water created a pretty tangible obstacle in her family’s everyday life, it was easy to forget the effects the lead would have on her children and many, many others. They were happy, polite, normal kids. They watched TV. They did their chores. Shamaya laughed at her little sister Brianna while she blabbered into my microphone. Malik showed me his bedroom and his basketball jersey. It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t right. I had to do something.
There is no single reason that giving back is important to me. What I do know is that what happened in Flint was wrong. I can either be a complacent bystander and maybe share an article or two on the internet until the next trending tragedy comes about, or I can try to make a difference. My goal in this project is to drive home the reality of the situation to people who aren’t as close to it as I am. We all know what happened in Flint was wrong, but because I can actually go there, I have a unique responsibility and opportunity to translate the gravity of the situation in photos. I want you to meet Terraca and Shamaya and Brianna and Malik and all the people of Flint like I have so you can feel the outrage that I do. I want you to see them on swing sets and bathe with bottled water and turn on their faucets because for a second, they forgot.
Let me be clear– the people of Flint can speak for themselves. But I want to help. To many, what happened in Flint is merely the tragedy du jour. For the people Flint, the effects will echo for generations to come. My hope is that by sharing their stories to a broad audience, maybe that outrage will linger a little longer and we can do something about it.