Langley, British Columbia – JustWorld Rider Ambassador Madison McDougall has helped the Thunderbird Show Park, in Langley, BC, raise $15,000 in support of JustWorld International. For the second year in a row, Thunderbird hosted a number of fundraising initiatives in conjunction with their summer tournament show series. Wildly successful and highly entreating, all of the funds raised from the events will go to support the ‘Adopt a Project’ campaign, which identifies opportunities to support a number of highly successful nutrition, health and hygiene, education, and leadership and cultural development programs.
McDougall was inspired to take on a leadership role in Thunderbird’s fundraising efforts after seeing firsthand the work JustWorld is doing.
“I went to Guatemala with JustWorld in April,” explained McDougall, 18, who has been a JustWorld Rider Ambassador for the past two years. “It was an absolutely life changing experience! We went to the project site and the kids there amazed me. They face so much uncertainty and sorrow in their lives, but they always seem to be smiling and happy, always saying ‘I love you.’ You come home and complain about the color of your hair, and suddenly realize that doesn’t really seem important anymore.”
She continued, “I think one of the things that was so special about the trip was that I had never met any of the other Ambassadors who were going. Most of them were from California. It was great to come together with a group of people who have such like ideals. We became instant friends and I feel like those lifelong connections I’ve made are because of JustWorld. That’s one of the wonderful things about them. They bring together such a fantastic group of people, who all really want to work hard, and work together, to make a big difference.”
It’s not just fellow JustWorld Ambassadors who are coming together to support the organization. Members of the equine community stepped up in a major way to make Thunderbird’s fundraising efforts such a success.
“All of the events were really successful and everything ran very smoothly,” noted McDougall. “This year we did a lot of things to bring awareness to the show community about what JustWorld is. We played my video from Guatemala, and had Ambassadors canvassing the show grounds and just getting out and talking to people. People who had never heard of JustWorld before came forward, wanting to donate to the cause, or buy an item from the silent auction just because they knew where the money was going, and why it was so important. We even had support from outside the horse show. A fellow Ambassador, Haley Parks, held her own fundraiser in Washington and is putting all of the money she raised towards Thunderbird’s total.”
This year’s fundraising events included two silent auctions, two Horseless Horse Shows, which saw children of all ages competing on foot over courses of kid-sized obstacles, the Dianne Tidball Legacy $50,000 Grand Prix benefitting JustWorld, and the selling of various items in support of the non-for-profit organization, including some delicious cupcakes made by McDougall.
The Family Extravaganza, which saw teams vying for bragging rights, was once again one of the most popular, and entertaining, events. Teams had to be made up of two generations of family members, with each member competing in either an over fences or on the flat equitation class. In additional to the entry fee, all of which was donated to JustWorld, teams were allowed to attempt to bribe the judges with cash, all of which went to support the not-for-profit organization.
“It was full of dads who had never ridden before,” said McDougall. “They bounced around all over the place, trying to get their bribes to the judges, who were a group of trainers. We even had two donations of $600 as part of the cash bribes.”
McDougall and her mother, Kim, emerged victorious in this year’s Family Extravaganza, which took place on August 25 during the Summer Fort Festival. It was redemption of sorts for the duo, who didn’t fare as well in last year’s inaugural event.
“Last year my mom was on the wrong posting diagonal for almost the entire class,” laughed McDougall. “This year she was just so determined to get it right.”
All of the money raised during Thunderbird’s summer show series will go to the ‘adoption’ of two projects in Cambodia. For the second year in a row, Thunderbird will take on the cost of JustWorld’s Family Rice Program, which distributes rice allotments to families with children attending classes at the PIO School in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Each child’s family receives 5 kg of rice each month, helping reduce the need for those children to gather food scraps or to earn money by picking through trash. In addition, Thunderbird’s management team has decided to adopt a second initiative, the PIO School Nurse Program, also in Cambodia. It helps provide children attending the PIO School a school nurse, who monitors students for common ailments and tends to them in the case of severe illness.
Founded in 2003 by Jessica Newman, JustWorld International is a not-for-profit, humanitarian organization which funds life-changing nutrition, health and hygiene, education, and leadership and cultural development programs for impoverished children in Cambodia, Honduras, Guatemala, and Brazil. There are currently more than 500 Rider and Technical Official Ambassadors representing 40 different countries, whose efforts to support JustWorld’s projects have helped raise more than $4.5 million to date. For more information on JustWorld International, or how to support the ‘Adopt a Project’ campaign, please visit www.justworldinternational.org.
Contact: Jennifer Ward
Starting Gate Communications
Cell: (613) 292-5439