Christine Davis was introduced to Five Acres in the late 1980s by her mother-in-law, Sylvia, who had been involved with the agency’s Auxiliary group since the early 60’s. “I learned then that the work being done by Five Acres was fundamental to impacting the scourge of child abuse and neglect,” says Christine. As we approach the holidays, we talked with Christine about her 25+ years with the Five Acres community and how the experience has impacted her personally.
FA: The holiday season is upon us! What are you thankful for related to your work with Five Acres?
CD: I am thankful for every person I have met there. They truly inspire me. I am thankful for each staff person who is working with every child and family. The job is stressful, requiring significant strength and commitment. They are doing the hard work and their efforts do make a difference! My personal support of time and charitable gifts and that of my company are little to supply the air beneath their wings, but all of our “littles” do make a big difference and enable Five Acres to directly help children and families in need. I am thankful for that.
FA: How have you participated at Five Acres over the years?
CD: I started by joining the Auxiliary and became president of that group in 1994. We took on fundraising events and volunteer projects with the children, especially the Group Home, which was very gratifying. Eventually I joined the Board and held a variety of positions over the years, including Board Chair from 2006-2008. I have served on and chaired many committees, and today am on the Board Affairs Committee and am honored to be an Ambassador for the agency.
FA: That’s quite a history of involvement. Does any experience stand out?
CD: The most rewarding experience I ever had was with a young man who formerly lived in one of the Group Homes. He was buying his first car and needed someone by his side, a kind of “passage moment” to be shared with a caring parent. I remember loving him from the moment I carved a Halloween pumpkin with him at the Group Home, so volunteered to help. I met him at the dealer and we went through all of the paperwork to make sure he could pay the small loan and build a positive credit history, which he would need in life. Later, Five Acres told me he stopped by with his car to thank them and said he was taking his daughter to the zoo for the first time. That trip to the zoo with a father and daughter showed how Five Acres helped this young man overcome his circumstances, and that the next generation was also a benefiting.
FA: What a wonderful story. It sounds like you’ve found many ways to support the agency and its work.
CD: Yes, I have also gotten my company involved. I work at Union Bank and banks, like many other companies, want to give back to the communities where they do business. For the 13 years I have worked there, Union Bank has contributed to each Five Acres annual event with a sponsorship. The company also has a Matching Gift program. I submit receipts of my personal contributions for a 2/3 match, amplifying my own giving. Many companies offer similar programs. I would encourage all to inquire at their employer and ensure their gifts are matched. If your employer doesn’t offer matched giving, please champion the initiation of such a program. It is a valuable benefit that strengthens an employee’s tie to a “company that chooses to give back to its community.”
FA: What do you wish for Five Acres?
CD: I wish all Five Acres children and families, past and present, a stronger connection this holiday season. May they achieve personal empowerment and live into a positive future.