Thursday, October 17, 2013

Our School Won from U.S. Cellular! Yours could Too!

FTC disclaimer:  This is a sponsored post.  All opinions are my own.

U.S. Cellular offers a FREE PRINTABLE Parent Child agreement to help you discuss safety of the Internet, cell phone usage, limits, and courtesy with your teen or tween.  You don't even need to be a U.S. Cellular customer to access this, although I have been for 10 years and highly recommend them. 

Do you know a school that could use an extra $25,000?  What would your school be able to do with that?  New computers?  Equipment for classes that have been affected by budget cuts?   Making the playground safer or even putting in a handicapped playground?  I'm sure every school in the country would love $25,000 so if you are interested, read on!

In 2009, it was the first year of U.S. Cellular's Calling All Communities contest.  Locally, it was everywhere.  It was in the newspaper.  I heard about it on the radio.  There were signs up in our community.  Our high school decided they were going to rally the community and see if they could win part of the prize money.  Of course, it made front page news when a representative from U.S. Cellular handed a representative from Preston High School in Kingwood, WV a check for $100,000.  If you think about contests and sweepstakes that no one really wins those things, think again, you can find Preston High on the list of winners at the U.S. Cellular website.  The students really helped get the word out to the community asking for votes for our school, and the teens were asked where they would like to see the money applied from a few ideas that were pre-approved.  It was used for new technology.  Can you imagine the impact that much money could have in updating computer equipment and even tablets for a school?

You can watch when U.S. Cellular told the students and faculty at Preston High right here:

Isn't that amazing?   The excitement is just contagious!

Since Calling All Communities started in 2009, U.S. Cellular has awarded over $4 million to 56 schools across the nation.  The reason they do this is U.S. Cellular believes in being active in the community and wants to give back while encouraging the community to work together towards a common goal.

A few things have changed in the U.S. Cellular Calling All Communities campaign since its inception and my original experience with it.  Now, twenty schools will each win $25,000!  It's out there just waiting to be won!  Think how many bake sales it would take to raise that much money!  Once the campaign launches there will be flyers you can print from the U.S. Cellular website, and think how fun it would be for the band or sports teams to hand out this information!  Students could even ask local businesses if they could leave a flyer there.  You can post the link on your school's website.  Don't forget about social media.  Asking friends and family to vote for your school by posting a link as an update is a great way to spread the word!  Maybe you could get administration involved by promising if your school wins the contest they will be willing to go in a dunk tank.  (What student wouldn't love dunking the principal?  I know I would have been a hit when I was little!)


  • The Calling All Communities Campaign runs from November 4-25
  • One vote per person.
  • You can find out more including complete official rules at U.S. Cellular Calling All Communities or if you live in my local area at these U.S. Cellular locations:
248 Walmart Drive Kingwood West Virginia
12451 Garrett Highway Oakland, Maryland

Do you have a school you would like to see share in this year's award money?  What would they do with $25,000?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Book Review: Chasing Francis

Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim's TaleChasing Francis: A Pilgrim's Tale by Ian Morgan Cron

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Chase Falson is a successful church planter whose church has grown over the years.  He is respected and admired.  Then a little girl in his church dies unexpectedly and it all crumbles.  He admits from the pulpit he isn’t sure what he has been teaching is what he believes.  He’s honest.  He bares his soul.  He’s relieved of his duties so he can “pull himself together.”

Chase calls his uncle who is a priest in Italy and embarks on a journey which takes him from caves to Rome to a musical concert.  He explores faith.  He learns about St. Francis, and he develops new ideas about himself as well as God.

This is one of the best fiction books I’ve ever read.  I’ve recommended it to others, and the question that is proposed in it has haunted me.  What if faith is to be a approached as a community and not focused so much on as a personal journey.  What would that look like lived out in today’s world?

Chase takes this question to heart.  The ending surprised me, and like any good book left me wanting more.  I would hope that the author would write a sequel.  I could relate with Falson in the fact he was disillusioned with the faith he had become so comfortable with, and I’d love to see how the author would tackle living the faith in the United States that Chase embraces while following in the footsteps of St. Francis.

An added bonus to this book is you will learn more about the life of St. Francis without realizing it as these tidbits are woven seamlessly into the story. 

I have been enjoying spiritual memoirs this year, and while this book is fictional, it almost feels like it could fit into that category.  I can’t recommend this book highly enough and I’m still pondering its message and the truths it contains about life, faith, and church.

FTC disclosure:  I received an advance reading copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.