Life is hard. From time to time, we all have those moments when it feels like our entire world has been flipped upside down. I've had more than my fair share over the past few years. I lost my kid sister to breast cancer suddenly and unexpectedly. I lost my dad to Alzheimer's after a long illness. My marriage of 23 years ended in divorce. In those moments, help came from unexpected quarters. My new friend and business partner Kat Steele was a shoulder to cry on. My old friend Colleen Gustavson helped me move on with my career. My mother, who had certainly done enough for me in the preceding 50 years, stepped up as rock and MVP. There were many others and you know who you are.
One of the ways I like to give back to the universe is by offering my services for free to charitable organizations. Since we started in 2014, Loudoun Digital has always taken on nonprofit organizations as clients, completely free. It's important to us. We make this work a priority. For many years we assisted HeroHomes with their website. Recently Kat & I agreed to go looking for another charitable organization that needed help.
UpsideDown Moments - Helping Kids Entering Foster Care
We had the good fortune to stumble upon UpsideDown Moments, a non-profit organization that provides support to kids going into foster care, as well as at-risk kids and young adults who have aged out of foster care and are getting started in their own place. This 1 minute and 41 second video provides a great overview of their mission:
The timing was perfect. Founder Becky Saunders was in the middle of designing version 2.0 of their site. She was using Wix, our recommended platform. (NOTE: Loudoun Digital is a "Creator" level partner of Wix.) They had a design in place and just needed help putting it all together.
Our part was to tighten up the design, optimize the site for mobile users, apply SEO, install Stripe to enable donations and setup the backend to help manage their database.
After just a couple of late nights, the site was polished, optimized and ready to go.
During our introductory meeting with Becky and Volunteer Lead Renee Boeticher, we learned about the emotional significance of the organization's logo:
I had expressed some concern about the readability of the logo. Becky shared that her daughter had designed the logo. She even has a tattoo of the logo. I had never heard that many believe cardinals are a sign of angels. Some believe they are a sign of loved-ones looking after the living still here on earth.
Based on this, I knew we had to do something special with the logo. I cut out "Angel", the UpsideDown Moments' cardinal and placed him all over the site. We even did some fun animations with him in various places. Sometimes Angel flies in to get your attention. Sometimes he's spinning around, sometimes his friends flock to his support.
Angels are Real
I know this. Becky, Renee and the entire team at UpsideDown Moments are true angels. The selfless work they do to provide kids with basic necessities like clothing, a toothbrush or a stuffed animal when their whole world has been turned upside down is God's work. The parties they sponsor for kids at Shelter House every month are beyond generous. Everything they do is about giving dignity and small comforts to those who can least fend for themselves.
Something they talk about is that many kids who enter foster care come with a garbage bag of personal belongings. That's heartbreaking even to a hardened old cynic like me. UpsideDown Moments sends those kids off with a quality duffel bag, hand decorated by other kids.
We helped UpsideDown Moments build a great website to make it easy for folks like you to donate, volunteer and support their important work. So, please, visit the site and do what you can.
The Work Continues
Our support for UpsideDown Moments doesn't end with the launch of their website. This week we'll meet and provide training. Ongoing, we'll provide updates and new functionality for their site. Kat will offer her expert guidance in how to leverage social media to grow awareness and support. We'll be lifelong partners.
There's Always Room for One More
I love what I do. I care deeply about each and every one of my clients. I put my heart and soul into every project I take on. But I admit, I enjoy working for free for these good causes most of all. So although we're busy across the board right now, there's always room for one more. If you represent a charitable organization that needs help with a website, digital marketing, social media and technology in general -- reach out, we're here to help.
P.S. We also accept paying clients ;)