The invitation read “Come together as ONE for a different kind of birthday celebration honoring Lauren Evers. An awareness dinner featuring the ONE Campaign to Make Poverty History…”
When Lauren and I first talked about the idea of having a ONE-themed birthday party, she recollected, “A couple of years ago I discovered the ONE Campaign – the goodness of humanity in action – one person at a time doing their part to make our world a better place. And it’s so simple – sign the declaration, email your congressman – change the world! Oh yeah, and spread the word.”
During those two years, Lauren stayed informed about ONE and even gave all of her girlfriends Christmas gifts from ONE founding partner World Vision. But, she wanted to do more. Lauren said, “A couple of months ago I went to the ONE website to see what else I could do and read the suggestion about hosting an awareness dinner party. I asked my best friend, Teresa, if she would help me and she jumped on board. We decided to do it in honor of my birthday which was coming up soon.”
I had first met Lauren at the hair salon she owns when my daughter was getting a haircut. We very briefly chatted about some common interests, but didn’t discuss the ONE Campaign. The very next day, however, Lauren saw me talking about ONE on the local Fox affiliate’s newscast after the Idol Gives Back special and decided to ask me if I would be a speaker at her birthday party. I agreed and we scheduled the party for late July.
In the meantime, Lauren had second thoughts about spending the money to host a party. Lauren confessed, “It was early in my second pregnancy. I was very tired and my enthusiasm was waning, as I was driving all over town looking for matching table cloths that didn’t cost a fortune, and I thought to myself – maybe I should just send this money straight to Africa – it would probably do more good than paying for dinner and drinks for 30 of my closest friends. Will they even pay attention? I shared these thoughts with one of my clients who happened to be Elaine’s pastor. He replied, ‘Being in a similar business, I have found that investing in changing hearts and minds will bring you a much better return.’
Lauren was reenergized and very enthusiastic on the night of her party and ready to “make the investment.” Lauren reported, “You could have heard a pin drop while Elaine was addressing us. Everyone signed the declaration. We discussed the current state of our planet and what we could do about it. We ate great food and we danced. There was hope in the air! It was a beautiful night. The next day I got the best call. One of the couples (Dave and Mary Browning) had gone on to another party that night. Mary called to let us know that her husband had people in a circle at that party educating them on the ONE campaign. Our investment was already paying off!”
Way to go, Lauren!!!
-Elaine VanCleave, head of ONE Birmingham