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“Shots for Shots”: Happy Hour With a Mission to Fight Measles
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Rachel Kleinberg
September 8, 2008

Move over Cosmopolitan and make room for The Vaccination. The recipe is simple: mix one part Happy Hour, one part measles fundraiser and garnish with a raffle twist. The result is an event worth toasting. On July 23, Allison Mitchell and Kirstin Stamm of the Northern Nevada Chapter of the American Red Cross partnered with Rookies Sports Bar and Grill to raise almost $500 for the Measles Initiative.

Tabletop advertisement at Rookies Bar
Tabletop advertisement at Rookies Bar and Grill promoting the Shots for Shots fundraiser.
Photo Credit:Allison Mitchell/American Red Cross

A Twist on Success

Allison, a graduate of Indiana University and an AmeriCorps volunteer at the Northern Nevada Chapter, became involved with the American Red Cross at age 11 when she completed her babysitter training. She continued participating in other courses such as Lifeguarding and CPR for the Professional Rescuer, but after studying abroad in Tanzania and Kenya, she realized she was eager to become more involved with international programs. Kirstin, a graduate of Sierra Nevada College in Lake Tahoe and the creator of its semester abroad program, joined the American Red Cross upon her return from her study abroad in Tanzania and Kenya where she helped educate students about HIV/AIDS.Moving experiences in the same countries and a mutual interest in making a difference made this pair a powerful team. Upon learning about Allison's idea to involve the chapter in the Measles Initiative, Kirstin became an immediate supporter.

American Red Cross volunteer Kirstin Stamm sells raffle tickets to raise money for the Measles Initiative
American Red Cross volunteer Kirstin Stamm sells raffle tickets to raise money for the Measles Initiative.
Photo Credit:Allison Mitchell/American Red Cross

"I was thrilled to have the opportunity to make a difference in someone else's life," she said. "I truly believe in helping people when and where they need it most."

To get things started, they modified the "Shots for Shots" fundraiser to appeal to young adults and tourists in their community looking for some summery fun.

Rookies Bar and Grill donated one dollar from each shot purchased to go to the Measles Initiative, which supports the vaccination of children in developing countries. Rookies' staff stirred up the drink of choice for the evening's event: The Vaccination.

"Holding an event at a local establishment is a mutually beneficial situation," said Allison, "and I learned that local business can be a great resource."

DJ Full House provided music for the event and recruited his friends, too. To top it off, Allison and Kirstin organized a raffle, including local products and activities, such as a Champagne brunch for four at the local Hyatt's Lone Eagle Restaurant, two tickets to the North Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, and a Red Cross Home and Travel Kit. In all, a crowd of 500 people attended the event.

"We had a great time hosting the event here at Rookies," said General Manager Diego Galindo. "Working with the local chapter allows us to help make a difference on a more personal level."

The Press Factor

In addition to partnering with local businesses, the event was bolstered by outstanding coverage in the local press. Leading up to the event, four articles and a letter to the editor were published in the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza, helping not only raise the profile of Shots for Shots, but also spread the word about the Measles Initiative. http://www.tahoebonanza.com/article/20080723/NEWS/132008934/1021&parentprofile=1053

Allison and Kirstin also began attending community meetings hosted by the local newspaper and other organizations around town. Their enthusiasm ensured that the light-hearted event did not lose focus on its cause. It also ensured that the event was embraced by the community.

Allison Mitchell, an American Red Cross volunteer, shows off a raffle prize during the Shots for Shots fundraiser
Allison Mitchell, an American Red Cross volunteer, shows off a raffle prize during the Shots for Shots fundraiser
Photo Credit:Allison Mitchell/American Red Cross

"If you have an idea for a fundraiser, go for it," said Allison. "Before this experience, I was hesitant to ask for donations or express my ideas, but I soon learned that people want to help and are waiting for the right person to ask them."

The Measles Initiative is a partnership committed to reducing measles deaths globally. Launched in 2001, the Initiative-led by the American Red Cross, the United Nations Foundation, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF and the World Health Organization-provides technical and financial support to governments and communities on vaccination campaigns worldwide. To date, the Initiative has supported the vaccination of more than 500 million children in 60 countries helping reduce measles deaths by more than 68% globally and 91% in Africa (compared to 2000). To learn more or make a donation, visit www.measlesinitiative.org.

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