I (Stacey) just got home from a weekend at a cabin with my cross country skis but no snow, peeled open a chocolate pudding cup for dinner (I got it from beside the greek yogurt at the grocery store so that makes it healthy by association), and decided to checkout how our fundraising is coming along. I was amazed to see we are at $5300!! Way to go team! That means that we hugely surpassed our next goal of $4000!!! I am very happy about what it will bring to Open Doors... I am not, however very excited about having to do a SECOND polar bear dip in the Antarctic Ocean! (Remember a while back, Henry and Jenny's grandchildren chose a polar bear dip for us to do when they donated their money instead of receiving Christmas gifts). If you saw the many layers of clothing that I put on to walk the ski trails this weekend you will know that I do NOT like to be cold!! But for Open Doors I will pretty much do anything including TWO polar bear swims!!
Also for those of you that have not seen these yet. We have had a couple articles written about our adventure!
From the Canadian Running Magazine
5 more days until take off!!!!
How many students attend Open Doors?
We have about 90 students at Open Doors at present.
What are some of the different disabilities?
All of our children have a developmental disability such as Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy and other intellectual disabilities.
What are the ages of the students?
Our youngest are just two years old. They are in our Early Intervention Classes. Our oldest students in their early 30s.
What are the programs offered at Open Doors?
We have two Units, the Special Education Unit and the Reading Clinic.
The Special Education Unit has 9 levels starting with Early Intervention up to Pre-vocational. All of the children enrolled in this Unit have an intellectual disability.
-The programs under this Unit are: Physiotherapy, Speech and Language Therapy,
The Reading Clinic Unit has 3 programs:
-Reading Clinic. Students attend this by appointment on an hourly basis.
-Special Primary. This is for students who do not have an intellectual disability so they
can follow a normal primary school curriculum. But they need extra support because of
Cerebral Palsy or other needs that cannot be met in a regular school.
- Adult literacy. We just started this as part-time program. So far most of our students are
junior staff working with Open Doors as cleaners.
How many Staff members are there?
We currently have 16 professional staff.
We have 22 support staff.
How many Special Olympic events do the students participate in a year?
Open Doors Students train for Special Olympics in the morning 4 days a week.
We hosted the Jos competition in 2015. But there were no regional or national competitions in 2015 due to lack of funds.
What are some other events the students participate in?
Open Doors took part in the World CP day activities. Our children with CP joined CP all over the world by wearing green and posting our photo on an Australian website.
International Day of the Disabled. We held a road show going all over Jos in a convoy and ending up paying a visit to the Plateau State House of Assembly.
How is the school funded?
Termly school fees are used for salaries and running costs while we count on donations for everything else. We also rely donations for sponsorship of children whose families can’t afford to pay fees.
How long has the school been operating?
We started in September 1999.
Do parents volunteer at the school?
No we do not have parent volunteers. But we do often have part time volunteers from the community.
What kind of holidays do you have at Christmas/Easter/summer/etc.?
We have 3 weeks off at Christmas/New Year and 2 weeks at Easter. Otherwise we are open all year round except for public holidays.
Do the kids wear uniforms?
Yes, except for the small children.
What are your thoughts on Rachel and Stacey going to Antarctica and running a half marathon?
It is all so unbelievable! Who would have imagined it?
Do you have any fun memories of Rachel and Stacey
Aunty Rosemary (a teacher from Open Doors) goes down memory lane
Love you both,
And who can forget how the kids loved playing with Aunty Stacey’s hair!
Guess what everyone?! In ONE MONTH today we will be hopping on a plane to start our Antarctica adventure. We are slowly getting prepared by running, making packing lists, trying our penguin onesies on for size, and Stacey just picked up enough seasickness patches to calm down the stomach of a full grown nauseous elephant (and then added “google if it is possible to overdose on seasickness patches” to her to do list).
Needless to say that we are both quite excited that this adventure is coming up SO SOON! We are also excited about the money that is being raised for Open Doors. So far we have raised $1495. As a previous blog stated, We have reached our first fundraising goal which means we will be running the half marathon in our penguin onesies. This is fun, but there are so many more fundraising goals we want to achieve. Wouldn’t you love to get a surprise from the students at Open Doors, see us waddle and penguin slide across the finish line, or do a polar bear swim in the Antarctic Ocean?! If you do, then join in the effort by clicking on the donation page and making a donation. Your donation will not only make us do some ridiculous things but it will also help pay for school and therapy fees of some very deserving students. It will make a big difference in the lives of the children attending Open Doors.
A big thank you to everyone who has already contributed to this wonderful cause. Your kind hearts are truly appreciated.
Name: Rachel Rauwerda
Nicknames: Rachy or Turdy Bird (Yes..I need some new nick names!)
How would Stacey describe Rachel?
“Rachel is a whole lot of fun wrapped up in a teeny tiny dreaded package. She just might be the most energetic person that I know. She is always using that energy to go on some kind of adventure! She might be in Thunder Bay one day and the next day up in Yellowknife, Chicago or Newfoundland… you just never know with her. She is constantly wearing a huge smile on her extremely expressive face. In fact, her face could be described as a cartoon it is so animated. Rachel has a kind heart and finds the positive in everyone she meets. Spending 9 days on a boat with her is going to be full of shenanigans and unexpected surprises that I am looking forward to.”
Tell us about a favourite memory from your time spent at Open Doors? Oh goodness, I had to think about this one for awhile because I have way too many to mention. If I had to narrow it down to one, I think I’d have to say my favourite memory would be arriving to the school most mornings. As soon as I would step out of the car several of the kids would run out to me with the most joyful and excited energy, enthusiastically calling “Auntie, Auntie!” and then they would grab my bags and take my hands, leading me first to the classroom to drop off my bag and then straight to the field for some running around. Encountering this sheer excitement and pure happiness each morning was so beautiful and precious - one of the best feelings I’ve ever experienced!
What are you most looking forward to about the trip? Being in Antarctica…enough said.
What are you least looking forward to about the trip? Running the marathon. Haha just kidding. Definitely packing! I HATE packing. You’d think I’d be much better at it by now, but I’m not.
How many pairs of active shoes do you own? 2 running shoes (Just got my second pair for Christmas!), a pair of snowshoes (those would be active eh), snowboard boots and ski boots.
Would you rather ride a bike, ride a horse, or drive a car? BIKE hands down!!
What is your biggest fear? When I was younger, I was deathly afraid of planes crashing in my house. And the fear worsened when I was staying in a tent. Thank goodness I have gotten over that by now! My biggest fear now is FOMO - fear of missing out. Yes it’s a real thing. I have the hardest time saying no to events or gatherings because of the biggest fear of missing out on something spectacular.
What makes you laugh the most? It’s quite awful to admit, but seeing a friend have a fluky accident (as long as they are not seriously injured - something like walking into a sign or falling) makes me laugh A LOT. Also, being by friends/family when they are scared in a non-scary situation…like on a rollercoaster. Hilarious. Im laughing right now just thinking about it actually. Is that awful?
What did you want to be when you were small? Oh gosh, this is slightly embarrassing - A dolphin.
What is your go to Karaoke song? I am a horrible singer, so I never end up singing the same Karoake song twice. I always think a new song will go better than the last one I sang. It never does.
If you were a super-hero, what powers would you have? I’d be able to transport myself anywhere
What's your favourite fast food chain? Any pizza joint
What is your favourite childhood memory? Oh man. How can any one have a favourite childhood memory?? Of course camping ever summer at Rondeau park and going to Florida or Myrtle Beach with the family are on the top of my list. Who didn’t love family vacations as a kid! I also absolutely loved it when my Aunt Colette babysat us for a week. We would get to pig out on cookie dough and cool whip, wake up at 4am to go snowboarding, play tons of road hockey and of course, prank each other. One memory that really sticks out is the time my brothers and I decided to make the same ‘pepper bombs’ we saw on the movie, ‘Three Ninjas’ (awesome movie by the way) and throw them at my Aunt Colette. We found some coffee filters and threw in whatever spices we could find and then called our Aunt outside. As soon as she walked out the door - powpowp. We whipped those pepper bombs at her laughing historically…Until we realized they actually worked!! My poor Aunt’s eyes were so red and puffy! Haha. What a good Aunt.
What is one thing you will never do again? Participate in a 2L eggnog chugging contest. Ugh our poor stomachs!
What is your favourite food? PIZZA.
What is one of the craziest things you have ever done? I tend to get myself in some pretty ridiculous situations from time to time. I once hopped on a train in Shanghai, China to a small town called Suzhou with only a small backpack and a little bit of cash - no credit card, no phone, no place to stay, no tourism book - nothing really that any smart traveller would typically have. In my head I envisioned getting off the train, then purchasing a map which would direct me to a hostel, which in turn would have all the information I needed to figure out best places to go from there. Well, turns out the train dropped you off literally in the middle of nowhere…in the pouring rain. At this point I was not quite alarmed because I figured I would just ask people to help me out…only, no one understood English (duh!). That left me wandering the streets for hours (5hrs and 45min to be exact) in the pouring rain desperately asking whoever I came across if they could direct me to a hostel. Throughout the day I sometimes got lucky and found someone who understood a little bit of English and they would draw me a map - only it directed me to the hospital…every time! Ha, silly me. Needless to say I was finally lucky enough to find a hostel randomly on my own and everything turned out great in the end.
Tell a silly joke. What do you call a deer with no eyes? I have no ideer.
If you could have dinner with anyone who would you choose? All my grandparents together.
Sweet or salty? Both, together. Like French Fries dipped in Ice Cream…THE BEST! Sweet, salty, hot AND cold all in one!
Beer or wine? Beer. Wine is a very close second though.
Movie or book? Book. I love a good book.
M&m’s or Smarties? M&Ms
Summer or Winter? You know, I would have to say it just recently switched to winter. There has to be snow though, otherwise it’d be summer. I just can’t get enough of the winter snow activities!!
Email or Snail-mail? Snail-mail…even though I’m the worst at sending snail-mail myself. Canoe or Kayak? I canoe way more, but I still think I like Kayaking better.
Introvert or extravert? Extravert
Roller-coaster or water slide? Whichever one has the shortest line!!
Surprises: like or dislike? LOVE, LOVE, LOVE
Indoors or Outdoors? Outdoors
Rainy days or snowy days? Snowy days!! But I do love a good thunderstorm as well.
Ice cream: cone or bowl? Cone
Driver or passenger? Passenger
Toilet paper: over or under? Never notice
Ocean or mountains? Ocean
Soup or Sandwiche? Sandwich
City or country? Country with occasional visits to big cities.
Tea or coffee? Coffee. I absolutely need my morning coffee.
Night owl or morning person? Night owl. Although, the older I get the earlier I seem to go to bed and the earlier I seem to wake up.
Antarctica Packing List
Running Shoes….. Check
Penguin Onesies…. Check
It happened over the busyness of Christmas and we are so excited about it! We reached (and exceeded) our first fundraising goal of $1000!! This means that come March 12 when we are putting on our many layers for the big race, the last layer we zip up will be a penguin onesie!
Rachel, Stacey, and the students at Open Doors want to thank everyone who have helped us reach this first goal! We really do appreciate it!!
We are now only $1300 away from our second goal of $2500. This is a surprise from the students themselves at Open Doors. This will be a special one! Help us reach it by heading over to the donation page.
Henry and Jenny’s grandchildren; Ben, Marcus, Henry, Kaleb, Mason, Braiden, Isaac, Peyton, Cooper and Arie gave a gift to Open Doors in lieu of receiving gifts themselves. Out of the blue at a Christmas dinner multiple little hands gave Stacey a bunch of $20 bills and told her “it was to help the kids in Africa”. She was then told that she had “to jump in the cold, cold water.” It turns out all those $20 bills equaled a grand total of $500 so that meant that they got to choose something for Stacey and Rachel to do on their trip. They chose a polar bear swim. Looks like the swimsuits officially need to be packed!
*The money all came from Henry and Jenny. Don’t get any ideas about teaming up and donating together to make us do things.
Name: Stacey Marie Collie