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When you graduate college you worry. You worry if you will find the right job, you worry if you’ll find “the one” and you worry if you’ll be able to afford it all. These worries are usually accompanied by the anxious excited interview and a celebratory toast to your first job, fussing over an outfit for a first date that will end up being your next great love, and charging it all on your new credit card. These worries are good worries, they are the ones that are followed by good news and exciting beginnings, they are what shape your life and make you who you are. But as statistics will have it – one day we won’t be in our 20’s anymore, and one day 1 in 8 of us will be diagnosed with breast cancer, worried, in a waiting room, to see how aggressive the cancer has become. OK, so you’ll eat right and exercise and you will do everything you can to avoid every evil illness. But – say you’re a woman and you grew older – did you know those are the two leading risk factors for breast cancer? We don’t think about these things because they aren’t in our peripheral. In life, we think reactively instead of proactively. We act intrinsically instead of ‘just because.’

For the past few years I have been involved with Susan G. Komen 3 Day Event (a 60 mile walk spanning over 3 days). Since 2008 our team has raised over $75,000 towards the cause. I thought, hey, I’m doing my part, right? But, breast cancer just scratches the surface. On top of illnesses and disease, our nation, even our city of Chicago, faces serious issues with bullying and cruelty, poverty, gangs, unclean water, sex trafficking, the woes in this world are incredible and like most 20-somethings, actually, like most middle-class Americans, these causes were not affecting me. People jump to action when they are emotionally invested in a cause and I hadn’t noticed these other organizations because I hadn’t felt impacted by them.  When I was 23, I decided to challenge myself to give back to 12 charity organizations in 12 months. I wanted to involve myself. I wanted to say yes to causes and reasons that I didn’t have, but someone else did. This was a personal challenge that continued to grow as I saw a need and a want for my peers to get involved in the same way. I founded twelve, a platform that connects followers to organizations and gives organizations a free marketing opportunity to a group of people searching for ways to give back 12 times in 12 months. Each month I utilize twelve’s social media as well as my personal social media to highlight an organization, post fundraising links, share stories, spread awareness, market and attend galas or 5K’s, serve as a free resource to answer questions, give advice, or simply help where we are asked.

During our first year my good friend, Ben Diedrich, came to me and said “If you could host one event, what would you do?” We were eating lunch on the Chicago river in the middle of the summer, watching the boats go by, and I point blank said “yacht party.” Who doesn’t want to be on board a yacht in summer time Chi? Who doesn’t want to meet 300-400 people? The event marketing isn’t catering to an individual necessarily looking for a charitable opportunity; we are marketing an experience that is affordable and epic with a live band and fireworks because this is the market that organizations haven’t tapped into yet. This is the market that may not be affected by the organization but will be a supporter for life. This year we will be cruising for The Jesse White Foundation, founded and run in our back yard, helping Chicago, directly. The Jesse White Foundation provides young people with a place to become physically fit and mentally sound through focused energy in educational tutoring, athletics, and scholarship resources. This is huge yet very few people our age have any idea it exists. So I baited you with an event, and you will walk away with the knowledge of a new organization, you’ll walk away making an impact that you may have never made otherwise.

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twelve is run volunteer. Everything we do is based on what I have the resources to do, for free. I believe in creating opportunities out of experiences I already want to be having – the idea of not adding another tab to your planner but instead involving charity into what you already have going on. I like to say that being busy is the least exclusive club you can join. We’re all busy – I want to leave excuses at the door, so combining charity with an experience was the best way to do that. Putting charity on an achievable level creates an inclusive community of philanthropists. So I invite you to have an incredible evening with us, I invite you to get involved, and I invite you to #getontheboat

silly twelve

Sarah Bio:

Sarah currently works in Non for Profit Association Management and Event Planning for SmithBucklin in Chicago. She is actively involved in fundraising for Susan G. Komen in part of the fundraising team “Babes for Boobs.” Sarah created and founded twelve whose mission is to participate in 12 charity events in 12 months. In 2013 she was the youngest recipient of Association Forum and USAe Magazine’s Forty Under 40 Award. She graduated from the University of Iowa in 2010 where she was a Chi Omega Psi Beta.  Sarah believes that you cannot change the world single handedly, but instead, hand in hand – together. #getontheboat and meet Sarah




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