Monday, July 18, 2011

Hey, MO!

No...not THAT Moe...although, to reveal that 1/2 of the secret identity of SNAvenger was indeed Moe Howard, a resurrected 1/3 of The Three Stooges would be the Story of the Century, the Mo I refer to is the nickname for 1/4 of our Mission: iPossible group...a woman, a mother you know of as Maureen.

Too many fractions in there. You still with me?

Remember the iPad that we've been telling you that was purchased and delivered? Maureen is the one who went to the store and bought it. But why should I tell the story, when she can tell it way 'MO BETTAH' than I?

And with that? Here's Maureen...

My family and the Needhams have been friends for years. Actually, Heather is my mother's girlfriend. She and I have children close in age, though, so I call her my friend too.

I was raised with a cousin who has Down Syndrome. We were brought up to respect people with special needs. I remember being 9 or 10 years old and correcting adults who used the 'R word', before it was PC to do it. We knew it was our job to be patient and loving with people that were different, people like our cousin - who, to us, was just another cousin. As we got older, this played out in many ways. One of my sisters currently works as a therapist for children who have severe cases of Autism. Another sister worked as a job coach for adults with special needs, until she quit to become a stay-at-home Mother.

My entire family has followed Zoey's and Heather's blog since its inception. When we learned that Zoey had been awarded an iPad, we were thrilled for her. My own children love playing with their grandma's iPad - and I have always been so impressed with how intuitively the kids were able to operate the device. I knew, right away, that Zoey and all the other "winners" would really benefit from the technology. I reflected on the first time each of my children said, "Love you, Mommy," and was so glad that these "winning" Moms and Dads were going to get the chance to maybe hear that from their own children for the first time.

Some members of my family contributed to the fund in the hopes that more children would be given iPads. But after a few weeks, we started to wonder where Zoey's iPad was. Heather confided in my mother that she was getting suspicious. There had been numerous delays, and no deliveries. I texted Heather and asked what was up with the giveaway. She called me and shared her concerns, indicating that she was starting to feel that the entire thing was bogus. I told her I wanted to look into it. Because I'm nosey like that.

I started to look around a bit on the Internet, and right away I found some information that made me go, "Huh?" I enlisted a dear friend of mine, Darcy [Editor's note: The other 1/2 of the SNAvenger Identity], who is far, far more technologically savvy than I am. She found even more evidence that all was not right. We became convinced that there were no iPads, and that families were being lied to. We sent the organizer of the "giveaway" a very harsh email, demanding that he stop accepting donations to his Paypal account, and that he tell the "recipients" the truth.

We told him we would turn him in to the authorities. We were absolutely infuriated for the families we believed had been lied to. We were sickened that anyone would take advantage of the trust and generosity of the special needs community. We were scared that families who didn't have much money to give away were doing so anyway, in the hope that it would make a difference in the life of another child with special needs.

After corresponding with the person in charge of the "giveaway" for a while, he agreed to tell the "winners" the truth. With Heather's guidance, my friend and I decided to confide in Ken, and tell him what we'd been doing and what we knew. After much correspondence, we decided that we'd all still like to see the kids who were promised iPads obtain the technology. We asked ourselves, "What can we do about this?"

Thus, the Mission: iPossible group was born. With our four different personalities and different skill sets, we thought we could make the iPads iPossible for these great at a time.

Remember that sister I told you about? The one who used to be a job coach for adults with special needs? She has always had a place in her heart for people who are different. She is now a stay-at-home Mom with two beautiful daughters, and married to a young fireman. My sister, Kara, had donated to the original "fund", believing that it meant more kids would get iPads. After she spoke with me, Kara immediately went to the internet and checked out all the blogs that were discussing the alleged scandal.

After a while, she called me and said, "I want to buy an iPad for one of the families, let me talk to T.C. (her husband)." T.C. had some reservations and a lot of questions. Sending an expensive piece of technology to a complete stranger? He wasn't sure it was a great idea. Like a good husband, though, he told his wife to do whatever she felt was right. The next day, she and I went to the Apple Store and she bought the family an iPad2. We sent it out immediately.

T.C. does not have much connection to the special needs community. Our cousin, who is now 21-years-old, was the first person with Down Syndrome he'd ever met. When he was shown the photographs of the child opening the iPad, he was so moved that he told Kara, my sister, that if they could come up with the funds (they are in the midst of buying a house right now), that he'd like to buy more iPads for these children. Just as receiving the device was huge for the family; it was also huge for their benefactors. Like St. Francis said, "It is in giving that we receive."

Anyway, that's the story. Not all of it, of course, not even most of it - but the main points. I am so committed to getting iPads out to each and every recipient who still wants one. Thanks for allowing me to help and for the chance to earn your trust!

There you have it. From the source.

It is the intention of Mission: iPossible to handle the fulfillment of the Recipient list in random order, to be determined soon, via a digital video that we will shoot and post to YouTube and link to in a blog.

Full disclosure. Full transparency.

You'll hear these words a lot. You may tire of them. But they are necessary. Of this there can be little doubt.

It should be noted that this particular iPad preceded that drawing and was donated from someone's heart, in the midst of the fallout of this entire debacle of a contest, even as this group was in its infancy, based on feeling, and we also would never stand in the way of that because of a set of guidelines.

We are 'Giving Facilitators', according to our Mission Statement, not 'Giving Get-In-Way-Of-Ors'...or something like that. :)

That's the fine line that we will have to walk, but we walk it gladly, steadfast and determined to work through any kinks, as there will be some. But if a 'kink' in a process is that a child gets to communicate with a parent and we see comments like the ones I put in the last post?

We'll take that ANY DAY.

Tomorrow? The REVEAL.



Sherry C said...

Wow.. I love love love it!!!!! What an amazing team on a super mission. I'm so totally impressed! Thank you for making this right!

Shannon said...!! You guys rock!!

MicJen said...

Amazing! <3

The Boyds said...

I was more than happy to help! I love this whole thing you guys are doing! GO TEAM!

stephanie said...

i love it!!! You guys are all awesome! Super Heroes!!

Finding Normal said...

Hi Mo! Nice to finally meet ya! I stand in awe of this mission.

kellys said...

Mo (and co.), your note got me all weepy and emotional and, best of all, got me believing in people again! Thank you for being a fighter and for your incredible generosity. What a beautiful thing this is.

The Annessa Family said...

So so proud of how bad has turned to good!


Brooke Annessa

Justine (Romy's Mama) said...

Goosebumps! The four of you and your families are wonderful. Just wonderful!

Elizabeth said...

Just watched The Incredibles with my youngest son and -- well -- you're all incredible.

I am so moved by the mission.

blogzilly said...

You know, I sit here, not knowing how to respond. First, this is a group thing, so how do I speak for four people? That's hard enough. But also, hard to acknowledge each post individually and respond in kind like one does in a 'personal' blog.

BUT...It would be totally remiss of me to not say something, so here goes. How about this?

'No...Thank YOU!'

Maureen said...

Thanks, everyone! It's been a crazy couple of weeks, but I can't wait to get more of these iPads out to kids : )

Mr. Kaduck said...

Thank nice to know that people really do care.