DIY Hair Bows Raise Funds for Holt

10728790_816908618329635_818421991_nAre you a runner? A climber? A teacher or baker?

What about a hair bow maker?

Whatever your talent, we want you to ignite your passion to make the world a better place, to fight poverty and give a child a brighter tomorrow.

Through Holt’s new DIY — Do It Yourself — online fundraising platform, we give you all the tools you need to raise money on behalf of children and families in Holt’s programs around the world.

Well, except for the talent or hobby. You provide that.

But truly, fundraising for children is now as simple as tying a hair bow.

Just ask Brittany Wells, Madison Sowders and Stephanie Shondelmayer — three teenage girls who brought their schools, youth group and church congregation together on behalf of two middle school boys in China.

Oh, and on behalf of stylish hair bows.

With names for their bows like the “Insbowration” and “Teal You Something,” these three young ladies prove that all it takes to make a difference is an iron, some hot glue, a few festive fabric options and a heart swollen with love for orphaned, abandoned and vulnerable children — though their natural knack for social media marketing doesn’t hurt either.

In 2012, Madison and Stephanie attended a Winter Jam concert in Cincinnati with their youth group, Pursuit, the Miamitown Church of Christ’s student ministries. The 10-band concert was a blast, but it was Holt’s spotlight on child sponsorship that pulled at their heartstrings.

They approached their youth pastor about sponsoring a child through Holt, and he more than agreed.

10751754_823619017658595_1119051553_nTogether, the youth group started sponsoring two boys from different rural provinces in China — Zhou and Long Yu — both of whom are able to attend middle school and remain in the care of their extended families with the support they receive from their sponsors.

That’s when Madison and Stephanie started “Team Holt” at Miamitown Church of Christ. This group of young philanthropists search for ways to raise money for their sponsored children.

They collect cans from the church congregation, and recycle the cans for cash. They hold bake sales and sell cans of soda at youth group — ultimately raising enough to meet their $30 monthly commitment to each of the children they sponsor.

In 2013, Brittany Wells felt called to join Team Holt. She started making hair bows in her free time, and would sell them to friends or family for a few bucks each.

Her bows really took off when a local salon began carrying a small stock. Team Holt created Facebook and PayPal accounts for the bows and hosted “Hair bow Crew” meetings after church — equipped with glue guns and donated materials to make enough bows to sell at craft shows or festivals.

“It’s been neat to see how the whole church has gotten involved and gotten inspired,” Brittany says.

Between all of their efforts — which last year involved Madison running a carnival, Brittany working a church car show, and encouraging everyone to join in for the cause — they’ve raised well over $1,000 dollars.10726239_816896074997556_1995073737_n

Last year, the Miamitown youth group also volunteered at Winter Jam in Lexington, and that night, they helped sign up more than 200 new child sponsors.

That’s 200 children whose lives are forever changed thanks to the volunteers.

“We really believe in Holt’s mission,” Brittany says. “Nothing about me sitting in my room making hair bows should mean changing lives on the other side of the world. We can only do that through Holt and through God.”

The group even hosted a Christmas party to raise money for Holt’s Christmas fund, which Holt established to share the heart of Christmas with children in Holt’s programs overseas — including gifts and parties during the holidays.

“Really, we would just love to tell our two sponsored kids that a whole church loves them and is praying for them,” Brittany says.

Their two sponsored children Zhou and Long Yu are both doing well in school. Zhou was diagnosed with anemia earlier this year, but he was able to see a doctor with the support of his sponsors. Long Yu lives with his grandfather and participates in peer-to-peer counseling so he can help other students in his class facing difficulties know that they aren’t alone.  Thanks to Holt sponsorship, both boys are excited for the future — and they are growing up with the love and support of their families.10721342_816898288330668_380863204_n

With Holt’s new DIY fundraising platform — which is ready to be tested by a small number of fundraisers — anyone who dreams of making the world a better place or helping others, or teaching children about human kindness has all the tools they need to create their own fundraising campaign built around Holt’s vision of a world where every child has a loving and secure home. Registered fundraisers can create a personalized online donation page to share with their friends and family, while fundraising tips and fillable emails, stories from other successful fundraisers and Holt promotional videos help DIYers learn more about Holt’s programs and tell others about Holt, too.

Just like Team Holt, the DIY platform shows everyone how to create a healthier, happier world where no child is alone and every child can experience the joy of family.

It can be as easy as collecting cans or as complex as hosting a major event. That’s up to you.

Through DIY, Holt can even help outline fundraising goals to help supporters maximize their impact.

For instance, for $1,000, you can cover the cost of school fees, supplies, uniforms and books for five children in China for one year, and provide desks and supplies to an entire class and contribute to one teacher’s salary.

Or, for $200, you can purchase a cow or donkey for a struggling family. In many of the countries where we work, a cow provides everything a family needs to grow strong and healthy — milk for daily vital nutrients, fertilizer for gardening, calves that can be sold for profit to cover a child’s school fees and meat to sustain the whole family.

Of course, you can always go the Team Holt route and sponsor a child — or 10 children! — for $30 per month, per child.

There are dozens of ways you can make a lasting impact!

And, if you want to tie your gift to children up in a cute, stylish bow, you know who to call.

Billie Loewen | Creative Lead

We are looking for groups or individuals to help us test our first version of the DIY fundraising page. If you are interested in fundraising for Holt and working with us to develop an even stronger web platform for this type of support, please contact Holt’s director of sponsorship, Darcy Phillips, at or 1-541-687-2202 ext. 185.




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