(Click on title to make a tax deductible donation)
iHope's Idea: iHope is a nonprofit foundation created by Jeff Paul. Mr. Paul is an 8th grade American History teacher at Pleasant Valley Jr. High
Racing for iHope: I have decided I will use my athletic gifts to give back to my community through iHope. All of my prize earnings from racing will be donated to the iHope Foundation. Since creating this foundation in 2013 I have been blessed to be able to donate over $7,000 in race prize money to the iHope Foundation.
If you would like to join me in contributing to the scholarship component of iHope click here.
The Birth of iHope: In July of 2009 my grandmother, Evelyn Lehman passed away. My grandma was an awesome person. Her and my grandpa gave time, energy, and money to their church, community and to their grandkids who they spoiled. When my grandma died she left all of her grandchildren some money. I knew I wanted to use this money in a giving way because that would make my grandma proud. The first time was I was out for dinner at Granite City in the fall of 2010. This night happened to be the night of Homecoming in my school district. While we were eating dinner we noticed many of my former 8th grade students enjoying dinner with their friends and classmates. I remembered reading about a time when former NFL player Kurt Warner was in the Quad Cities eating dinner during a homecoming night and the newspaper wrote a story about how Kurt Warner picked up the tab for a group of students. How cool is that! I decided this was not something that could be done by just an NFL football player but was something I could do as well. I used some money from "Grandma's Fund" to pick up the tab for a group of 24 students before leaving.
In the spring of 2012 I had a student that displayed outstanding work habits and character traits. This particular student came from a low-income family. They did not let the circumstances affect how they treated people or how hard they worked. There were no excuses. This student had been working hard on an extra credit project for my class and when I asked one day if it was finished they pulled it out of their bag fighting back tears telling me how the storm the night before caused it to get all wet in their bedroom. The project resembled what the student told me. My heart broke for this student as I realized the situation they were living in. I went home and thought about what I could do for this student. I decided to use "Grandma's Fund" to buy the student an iPad along with a heavy duty protective case and some iBook gift cards. When I presented this gift to the student it was immediately noticable what kind of impact it had. Along with the gift I gave the student a letter telling why we felt this gift was merited. I explained that the student's character and work habits were something that made me believe they were going to be successful in life. I mentioned how I hoped this student would use the iPad to help with school and look to a future beyond high school. I also encouraged the student to pay it forward some day when the opportunity was there. The student said it was the best gift they had ever received. It made a big influence on me as well. I realized this was something I wanted to be able to do more often...maybe once a year...or more perhaps. This is when the idea of iHope was born.
In March of 2013 I spoke with our Superintendent and he was very supportive of the iHope idea and helped me set up a foundation through the school district where money would be saved to use for low-income junior high students that display positive work habits and character traits. We use the money to purchase technology (mostly iPads) that will hopefully give these students hope for a bright future. These are students that statistics would say will not go to college. They are students that statistics would say will end up living in poverty through the vicious cycle. They are students that we believe differently about. They are ones that we believe with a little extra help and hope from us can make it through the cycle of poverty to become whatever they dream of becoming. I started the iHope foundation by donating $500.00 from "Grandma's Fund" and a pledge to donate any money I win at races in 2013 to the foundation. I have continued to donate all my race winnings to iHope since that time. The growth of this foundation is possible with outside help. I would love your help with this investment on the youth in our community. A donation of ANY amount will help a worthy child. All children who are presented with iHope gifts will be given a letter telling why they were chosen (by a board set up at our school). The letter will also encourage the students to set goals and believe in those goals. Lastly the letter will encourage these students to pay it forward when the opportunity arises. The students must display positive work habits and character traits...the things we think will help them be successful and things that are very important in our school district. All donations to iHope are tax deductable. You may contribute to the iPad component of iHope a couple different ways. One way is to click here and you will be able to donate online and will be given an immediate tax deductible receipt. The other way is to make a check out to iHope Foundation and dropped off or mailed to the Pleasant Valley School District. Checks should be mailed or dropped off to:
Pleasant Valley Foundation
525 Belmont Road
Bettendorf, IA 52722
Racing is extremely exciting for me knowing I can help make a difference for a child in our community. This fuels my motivation more than ever. Even if I can earn just a hundred dollars at a race I know that will make a big difference. I'd love to have your support and help. I cannot stress enough that we'd be thrilled for ANY help you can give...$5.00...$10.00...everything will make a difference. Together we can help give a student in our community the HOPE to DREAM BIG...the HOPE to change their life...the HOPE to build a better world. Thanks!!