Beginning in September, Mandy Hermanns and Izzy Longstaff began working on their project “Benefit the Blue” in support of Comfort Zone Camp, a nonprofit organization that provides free therapeutic programs for youth who have experienced the loss of a parent, guardian, or sibling. On September 30, Mandy and Izzy traveled to a Comfort Zone Camp in Wake Forest, NC, where they served as Junior Counselors all weekend. Both Mandy and Izzy were truly touched by what they experienced. The kids who entered the camp were no longer the boy or girl whose mom, dad, sister or brother passed away; they were instead just campers. Through every healing circle, group activity, and dinner spent together they could see the kids changing. The kids learned that it was okay to grieve and heal, and that there were healthy ways to do so. After returning from camp, Mandy and Izzy held a supply drive at JB Watkins Elementary, Bettie Weaver Elementary, the JCC, and Congregation Beth Ahabah. In total, over 150 supplies were collected to be donated to Comfort Zone Camp. Next, they held a “Blues & BBQ Benefit” on November 12. The event consisted of live blues music from the band “Rattlesnake Shake,”delicious barbeque from “Up N’ Smoke BBQ,” famous homemade “Yoder’s Doughnuts,” bounce houses, and many more games and prizes. The event was a huge success, with over 100 attendees and a profit exceeding their monetary goal. The money collected was added to their GoFund Me proceeds and donations, totaling over $1000. Enough money was raised to send a child to a Comfort Zone Camp for a weekend. The final step of their project was held on December 13 at
Albert Hill Middle School, where a Comfort Zone staff member, Janelle Tensley, spoke to students who would benefit from Comfort Zone’s programs. At the end of the presentation, Janelle asked the students to raise their hands if they were interested in attending a Comfort Zone program, and most everyone raised their hand. Mandy and Izzy were ecstatic to have met all of their goals, and to have been able to support such a wonderful cause.