We are excited to welcome Taylor Ponds to the Speedway Children's Charities family as our spring intern. Taylor is an Organization Communication Major at the University of North Carolina Charlotte. She works as an after school counselor at the YMCA of Greater Charlotte and volunteers for A Cause for Tea. Throughout the semester, Taylor will be assisting SCC with fundraising events including NHRA online auctions, 10 Days of Thunder online auctions and the 37th Annual Gala. Get to know more about Taylor below and make sure to say HI when you see here around this spring.
Q:What are you looking forward to the most about your internship with SCC?
A:I am looking forward to gaining the experience from working with a large organization and also networking with other interns and employees.
Q:Where would your dream vacation be?
A:I want to go to Hawaii.
Q:Who is your favorite person/company to follow on social media?
A:I like to follow the local boutiques in Charlotte and @Twistoflemons because she always has great nutritional tips.
Q:Would you rather spend a weekend in the mountains or a weekend at the beach?
A:The beach, I used to go to Western Carolina and had my share of the mountains.
It's a busy time here at SCC, which means we're raising a lot of money for great organizations helping kids in Charlotte! Since starting my internship this fall I've gotten to be a part of so many great events that have generated a lot of money for the kids. From NHRA Carolina Nationals and our Shooting Stars Tournament to AutoFair and The Bank of America 500, I've gotten to meet so many awesome supporters that have generously donated to this great cause! One of my favorite parts of working these events is getting to meet the volunteers that donate their time to helping us raise our funds. Without them we wouldn't be able to raise as much money as we do, whether it is through driving golf carts for tips or collecting donations!
The Shooting Stars Tournament in September was the first event I worked at where I got to meet some volunteers and other supporters of Speedway Children's Charities. I enjoyed getting to see the behind the scenes work that goes into putting these events together. September continued to be a busy month with the NHRA Carolina Nationals. It was a sunny weekend, and we had a great time with our supporters at both our SCC donation table and driver meet and greets that were bid on by race fans through our silent auction. AutoFair was another fun event where we set up our donation table throughout the weekend with our volunteers. Last weekend was my first NASCAR experience at The Bank of America 500 where I got to help run the SCC silent auction with United Rentals. Meet and greets, signed memorabilia, coolers and several other items were bid on by generous supporters. Between the fun energy at the race because the rain finally cleared after having to cancel the events for two days and the enthusiasm of bidders, I had a great time at my first NASCAR event. It was a successful event raising a lot of money for the kids!
I'm so grateful for the opportunity to intern for an organization that helps so many children in the Charlotte community, and I am looking forward to seeing what else I will get to be a part of in the coming months. We are getting excited for our grant ceremony in December and all of the holiday festivities that go along with it!
Alli Caldwell, Fall Intern
The end of summer is here, which marks cooler fall like temperatures and pumpkin spice flavored everything. It also marks the beginning of a jam-packed fall schedule for Speedway Children's Charities. To assist SCC with the fall events, Alli Caldwell, has been hired as our newest intern. Alli is a business admin major at Queens University, starting her junior year. She has previously interned with Firm Foundations Youth & Family Outreach, helping with their marketing and fundraising events. We are excited to have Alli join the SCC Charlotte chapter this year to assist with our fan assistance golf cart program and event day outreach.
We asked Alli a few questions to get to know her better.
Q: What do you like most about being in Charlotte?
A: My favorite thing about Charlotte is that there are some many great places to explore and see. There are great restaurants and outdoor activities in the area that I enjoy.
Q: What are you looking forward to the most this semester at SCC?
A: I am looking forward to learning more about SCC and what they do, and I am also really interested in learning what all goes into the behind the scenes work of putting on events. I am excited to work for an organization that makes such a great impact on so many other organizations in the community.
Q: Where is your dream vacation?
A: My dream vacation is to go to Thailand. I have been to Asia once and would love to see more of it, especially the beaches.
Q: What superpower would you want to have?
A: If I could have a superpower I would want to be able to fly so that I could travel quickly to different locations and explore different countries around the world.
When agreeing to intern for Speedway Children's Charities this summer, I had no idea that my experience would be me jumping headfirst as soon as I arrived.
After arriving home from finishing my sophomore year of college, I came to SCC and immediately learned that we were in the midst of prepping for three huge events, all taking place within the next two to three weeks.
Firstly, there was the NASCAR All-Star race, where SCC set up a live silent auction in the Speedway Club. We auctioned off sheet metal, signed helmets, photographs, and much more for the die-hard race fans. We were successful in auctioning off almost all of the items we offered!
Then there was the Coca-Cola 600, which was a two day event and where we helped operate the golf cart system that SCC used to collect donations. I spent two days driving race fans around and taking them to where they needed to go, and in return we'd suggest them to donate to SCC as a form of appreciation. This event also generated success by the time we finished driving people until about midnight each night.
The last event we had to prepare for was our final and biggest event that SCC had been working on for months beforehand: the black tie gala at The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte. This event certainly took the most amount of time to prepare for. The gala included a silent auction, a live auction, a live performance by Darius Rucker, dinner and speeches made by multiple people, including Tony Stewart.
All three of these events brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars, the gala hitting a new record for the amount of money raised during the event.
After all these events wrapped up and I got an opportunity to relax a bit, things began to slow down. We wrapped up the gala by delivering auction items and writing thank you notes for the people that came to participate.
As things began to dwindle, we were able to focus on our next summer event: the annual General Tom Sadler Memorial Golf Tournament. Supporting businesses formed golf teams and competed against one another at the Ballantyne Resort Golf Club. The event raised a little over $46,000, and added on to the already outstanding total that SCC has raised this past year.
The golf tournament was our final fundraising event for the summer, and after we finished wrapping up the event, we turned our attention to focusing on grants.
In a brief summary, SCC is a non-profit who focuses on raising money for multiple non-profits that focus on children in the Charlotte area. We give out grants to non-profits that apply for them. Last year we granted over 70 non-profit organizations with thousands of dollars to help with programs and projects they were trying to put into effect.
As July wraps up and August begins, we've received almost a hundred applications for grants from non-profits all over North Carolina. This is absolutely fantastic because that means that the name of SCC has spread all over and is reaching more and more people every day. And the more people we reach, the more people we are able to help and make a difference with.
We've currently sorted through many of the applications. Now, we merely wait for our board members to come in and decide where the money we've raised is going to this year. In December, there will be a ceremony that will announce all the non-profits that will receive grants from SCC for 2016, but by then I shall be long gone back to college.
Being a part of such a great organization this summer has really been a blessing. I'm so glad I got to spend my summer interning for such an amazing non-profit, and I can't wait to see all the success that SCC generates in the future!
-Angela Poffenbaugh, Summer 2016 Intern
Speedway Children's Charities has been in full swing for fundraising. We've hosted a gala, driven golf carts during races, and put on a golf tournament to raise money for SCC Charlotte, all within the past month.
Our most recent event was our annual General Tom Sadler Memorial Golf Tournament, which took place at the Ballantyne Resort Golf Club. Different companies and businesses supported this event by either donating money or registering to compete in this fun, annual tradition.
When we got there on that bright, sunny Monday morning, I got to help out and hand out the 'swag bags', which consisted of a pullover sweater, polo, and twelve golf balls. The tournament was set up where teams of 2-4 people represented a company, and the company team attempted to get the lowest score to win the tournament. About 27 teams competed, a majority of them consisting of four members.
A majority of these teams were companies that had chosen to sponsor the event or who had sponsored Speedway Children's Charities as a whole in the past. Some of these companies included Bojangles, Coca Cola, Gaylor Electric, JHE Production Group, and United Rentals.
Besides a tournament, there were also side events and perks that a number of the golfers decided to participate in. 77 golfers competed in the putting contest, which included a Mulligan deal which entitled the buyer to two redos.
Finally there was the NASCAR hole, where 14 teams decided to compete. At this hole, the teams competed to see who could hit the golf ball into the hole the fastest. Instead of focusing on precision, these teams focused on speed.
The main event however, was the golf tournament. The golfers played 18 holes on the Ballantyne Resort Golf Course from 8:30 a.m. until around 1 p.m. in the blazing 95 degree heat. The teams competed to try and get the lowest score out of all of their team. Beginning at a hole, they would each take a shot. Whichever shot landed closest to the hole was determined as the placement for the team's first shot overall. They would then move on to that spot and once again each shoot from there to get as close to the target as possible.
The team would take their best score from that hole and use only that as a part of their overall team score. I sat at the 7th hole on the golf course. After teams would finish at that hole, they'd come to me to report their score. I got to use an iPad's special golf app to send in the score for that hole to a universal scoreboard, which helped determine the winning team.
After all the scores were tabulated together, Corey Glass held a closing ceremony where he announced the winners, while we all munched on food provided by Outback Steak House.
In First Place was the Great Wolf Lodge Team, consisting of Pat Barber, Kevin Bryant, Randy Danison, and Casey Wallen. They ended up winning a race helmet labeled 'First Place'.
The General Tom Sadler Memorial Golf Tournament collected a little over $46,000 overall for the Charlotte Chapter of Speedway Children's Charities. It was great fun and raised a lot of money for SCC Charlotte, so I'd call the event a success!
Written by Angela Poffenbaugh
Angela is joining our team as an intern for the summer of 2016. She is a student currently attending Ithaca College attaining a major in journalism, as well as a minor in Sociology. She was thrown right into the action when she first arrived. Angela helped prepare and run events for the Sprint All-Star Race, Coca-Cola 600, and our 36th annual Gala within the first two weeks of her interning.
Get to know Angela!
Q: After jumping right into race week, what was your favorite part of the races at CMS?
A: Definitely the spirit and energy I saw from all the NASCAR fans. When I got to drive fans around on golf carts, watching their excitement was so entertaining and hilarious. I remember I got to drive this family into the infield while the drivers were warming up, and their eyes widened, their jaws dropped, and they began to freak out from excitement. Their reactions to the cars zooming around the track were absolutely priceless.
Q: What are you looking to learn from your summer internship?
A: I'm really interested in learning about event planning from a publicity/social media standpoint. Today everything is going onto the Internet and mobile devices, and I want to see how SCC uses that to reach out to its audience and attract people. I've also just really had an interest in event planning as a whole, so I want to get as much behind-the-scenes experience as possible.
Q: What is your favorite place you have traveled to?
A: Last summer I got to spend a few weeks in Beijing, China and I loved it! The food was delicious and I absolutely fell in love with the culture there. I'd definitely go back to China if I get the chance, especially to perfect my Chinese. I also love visiting Melbourne Beach, Florida because it's like its own little island right on the beach. It's not touristy at all and there's a super cute town down the road with all these unique, delicious restaurants!
Q: Have any summer vacation plans?
A: Not for a while! At the end of the summer I'll hopefully be going down to Florida for a week to scuba dive and surf. As long I end up by an ocean, I'll be happy.
One February 17th I visited the Male Leadership Academy of Charlotte. My boss spoke so highly of this academic institution and was so excited for me to see what it was all about. Anticipating our visit and wanting to be fully prepared, I googled the website the day before. I started reading various bios and mission statements. The first thing that I noticed was that the MLAC held a God-centered education policy. This brought me back because I attended a Christian high school which also valued a God-centered education. Soon after looking at the website I was more than excited to visit this school and observe the students during their Mandarin class.
The atmosphere of MLAC is cozy and inviting. Samantha and I wanted to take a group picture of the boys before going into the classroom to observe. These polite little gentlemen walked out in their spiffy uniforms and were more than happy to smile and say "cheeeeese" for what seemed like 50 frames. They were so patient! The first thing I noticed that there was only a small group of students. This again brought me back to my time in high school because I only graduated with only two other people. I had a feeling that this was a close-knit group of boys which was very heart-warming to me. After group pictures we made our way back to the classrooms. One of the kindergartener's was more than happy to hold the door open for me, chivalry shown even in the smallest of men!
The Mandarin teacher, Ms. Zhao, had made us signs that said "we love Chinese class" and "thank you for supporting us" in the Chinese language. We then had the lovely opportunity to observe a minute of the boys reviewing their Mandarin vocabulary, they were learning about families that day. We hopped on over to the second classroom where the older boys were learning synonyms and antonyms. When we asked if we could take pictures and Mrs. Miller happily agreed and then announced "scholars, pencils down please." Treating these young boys as young scholars, I love it! I felt that this title gave the boys a sense of pride in their learning experience.
In some of my college classes we learn that young children learn and retain a foreign language better than adults because the mind is so impressionable at that age. I'm glad to see that administrations are starting to notice this difference in development and taking advantage of that small window to teach these students something that will help them in the future.
First of all, I have never met anyone that could speak Mandarin. Not many primary schools teach the language, so of course I had to ask why these young gentlemen were learning Mandarin. Mrs. Curry, one of the administrators, told me the reason the boys learn Mandarin is that it gives them a "global edge" for the future because how many African American boys speak Mandarin? In the world of international business I know that Mandarin is a popular language, so this "global edge" she spoke of made perfect sense to me.
Overall, my experience at MLAC was a memorable one. I'm fortunate to have received the opportunity to actually go and visit a place that has received financial support from SCC. It was great to see the smiling faces of these "scholars" and see that the grants we give are extremely beneficial.
Written By: Emily Brown, SCC Intern
We are excited to have Emily join Speedway Children's Charities as our spring semester intern. Emily is a student at UNC Charlotte majoring in Psychology with a minor in Child & Family Development and a minor in Children's Literature & Childhood Studies. Throughout the semester, Emily will be assisting us in our fundraising efforts at the NHRA 4-Wide Nationals, Spring AutoFair, annual Gala and the May racing events.
Get to know Emily:
Q: What hobbies do you like to do when not studying for classes?
A: When I'm not studying, I like to play soccer for the Carolina Rapids Adult League, which is a local soccer club. I also like to spend time with my dog and friends. I'm currently in to Pinterest-inspired crafts and recipes!
Q: What are you most excited about doing during the internship?
A: I'm most excited about working the auctions and seeing all the behind the scenes work fall into place.
Q: What is your favorite family tradition?
A: I come from a huge family, so Christmas is a major event for us. I get to see all my cousins and eat my grandmother's famous Kahlua Chocolate Cake (yum!).
Q: Where is your favorite place you have travelled to?
A: I recently traveled to England this summer. I got to be a true tourist in London which was an amazing experience for me. I also got to stay in a small village in the country side, which was gorgeous. I will definitely be going back soon.
If you were at our 34th Annual Gala then you remember this adorable puppy, and if you have ever wondered where that puppy is today and what she is doing, we have good news for you.
We are happy to update you that the puppy, Emma is doing very well and is in training to become a therapy dog. She was brought home by Kevin and Carie to Ohio and got to meet her sisters, Zoe and Ginger. At 18 months, Emma has been in training since she was brought home. She is an AKC K9 Good Citizen and has had the opportunity to visit Carie's grandmother in a nursing home, where everyone loves seeing her. The next step is for her to become certified for hospital visits. She has a little bit more training to accomplish before she can pass the test, but once she does she will be able to bring joy to patients in the hospital.
As a therapy dog, Emma provides many benefits including, lowering blood pressure, improving cardiovascular health, lifting spirits and lessening depression for the patients and nursing home residents she visits.
A bright future is ahead for Emma and we are thankful to Kevin and Carie for taking such good care of her and being wonderful supporters to Speedway Children's Charities.
The month of May for Speedway Children's Charities and Charlotte Motor Speedway can be described in three words… Hot, Fast and Fun! We successfully executed the plans for the "10 Days of Thunder" with great effort on every level. Everyone involved in Speedway Children's Charities came ready for the biggest weekend in NASCAR's 36 race season.
Speedway Children's Charities was able to raise money for the children of Charlotte by auctioning off prestigious prizes over the "10 Days of Thunder." Many lucky NASCAR fans had the chance to bid on the "Ride of a Lifetime" auction, where they could win the chance to ride with their favorite NASCAR driver during the parade laps before the Coca-Cola 600. Some other prizes included a Meet and Greet with ZZ Top before the pre-race concert, the chance to meet and follow NASCAR on FOX reporter Jamie Little, or the chance to be in Victory Lane with the winners of the Sprint All-Star Race and the Coca-Cola 600.
The support for the charity kept coming in as fans had the chance to bid on prizes during our silent auction before the Sprint All-Star Race. The auction had numerous items which included autographed memorabilia from different NASCAR drivers, and a couple of acoustic guitars signed by Wynonna Judd and Terry Bradshaw.
Our 35th Annual Speedway Children's Charities Gala also had a hand in the success. The charity was able to auction off more autographed memorabilia from different drivers and pro athletes, some signed guitars from ZZ Top and The Band Perry, a signed shotgun from the people of Duck Commander and other prestigious prizes.
At Speedway Children's Charities, we would like to thank everyone involved who helped make these events possible in helping the children of Charlotte. With a strong month of May here at Speedway Children's Charities, we look forward to even more success for the rest of the summer.
-Brandon Read, Summer Intern 2015