When we think of “volunteerism,” the images of building a house or feeding the homeless or coaching a kids’ soccer team come to mind.  But there are other ways to help out that can be really fun, not take a lot of your time, but still be very worthwhile.

In Orlando there is a wonderful place called, “The Russell Home for Atypical Children.”  The Russell Home was the first non-profit institution in the country for brain-damaged children, founded on November 13, 1951 by Vantrease “Grandma” Russell.  By choice, the Russell-Home-logoRussell Home operates without the benefits of federal, state or local funding.  Even so, no child is ever turned away.  The home relies on donations from the public for all expenses.  (See more at RUSSELLHOME.ORG)

Many years ago, the Russell Home caught the attention of the Florida Citrus Region of the Porsche Club of America, based in Orlando.  The club organized an annual “Challenge Rally,” inviting other car clubs in the metropolitan Orlando Area to participate in a scavenger-hunt road rally with the proceeds donated to the Russell Home.  The club with the highest number of participating cars won the Challenge.  With a minimum $40-per-car donation, the event raised thousands each year for the home.

As the Great Recession raised its ugly head,IMG_5974 the Porsche club continued the annual event, but the other clubs fell by the wayside.  But the club found another way to “challenge” the rally – a donation match from the club up to an extra $2500.

This spring’s Challenge Rally was held on Sunday, April 24, starting at Millenia Motors in Longwood, east of Orlando.  A record number of participants and their Porsches (and other makes) showed up, raising $5,100 in donations, matched with an additional $2,500 from the club’s coffers.  The Russell Home was presented with a check for $7,600.

A scavenger-hunt rally is basically a drive through the B-roads around the countryside with questions to be answered along the way.  The driver and navigator search for the answers on signs, buildings, and other objects on the route, such as, “What don’t they want you to do here?  Answer: Litter.”   Directions are simple and concise enough to ensure that you don’t get too lost.  This event was about 110 miles, ending at a waterfront restaurant in Sanford.  The team with the most correct answers wins, with several tie-breakers just in case.

It was a beautiful and fun day to exercise our volunteerism and raise some much-needed cash for a great cause.  You can find out more about the Russell Home and make your own donation at www.RussellHome.org.


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