In January, Member Service Representative Sandi Boazman’s name was drawn to receive $500 to pay forward to a good cause.
With some ingenuity and help from co-workers and community members, Sandi has turned the original $500 donation into more than $1200 in handmade bags, stuffed animals, and toiletries to help children who are transitioning into the foster care system.
She worked with Laurens County DSS, Guardian Ad Litem volunteers, and Don Reynold’s sheriff office staff to distribute the donations.
Sandi said, “As a child, my brothers and I lived in a dysfunctional and broken home which resulted in my being removed from my home at a young age for my protection. I went to live at a family living home at the age of 9, then at the age of 13 I transitioned to live at John de la Howe School, a state supported dormitory-style facility, until I graduated from High School. Fortunately, my experiences in these alternate living situations were good, and I am now happily married with a strong family. I know firsthand what leaving home feels like, and the insecurity involved.”
Sandi has served as a Guardian Ad Litem, volunteering to help children and agencies in the community in support of at-risk families.
In addition to drawstring back packs with coloring books and crayons, toiletries, and other necessary items, Sandi provided teddy bears to the sheriff’s office for very young children to comfort them and provide for basic needs when they have to be removed from their homes in emergencies.
She said, “My childhood provided me with familiarity and insight into the burdens and obstacles that often occur in these crisis situations. This experience will likely be a memory that will last throughout these children’s lives, so I hope to lessen the trauma they experience.”
Sheriff Don Reynolds added, “There is a tremendous need when it comes to many children in Laurens County. Abuse ranges from neglect to physical and these children cherish the moment they receive a teddy bear or much needed bag with necessities. I, along with many others, thank Laurens Electric and Sandi for this very thoughtful donation.”
Laurens Electric’s Pay It Forward program, begun in 2015, was born out of a desire to continue the good work of the 75 Acts of Kindness community initiative.
Every Laurens Electric Cooperative employee is entered into a random drawing to receive $500 to pay forward in any way they choose. Each month a new name is drawn, and the employee then has one month to apply the funds toward their own act of kindness.
This initiative is budget-neutral; the funds come from Laurens Electric’s charity events, which employee volunteers make possible.