QI of Narooma, New South Wales, Australia, has helped provide life-changing surgery and education for two young people from the South Pacific nation of Vanuatu, each suffering a deformed leg. The inspiring story of club member Jan Staley’s effort to help these children and make their plight the concern of the club is part of the November 2001 issue of Quota Caring, a bi-annual newsletter for all Quota members and patrons.
Because a service effort of this magnitude requires a great deal of funding, the Narooma Quotarians called up their abundant spirit of dedication to garner the wholehearted support of the community and allow everyone to share in making a difference.
Since 1997, the club has supported the medical and educational needs of Denyson Seihi (pictured to the right in the foreground), a teenaged girl from Pentecost Island in Vanuatu. When the club learned in July 2000 that Denyson would require foot amputation and prosthesis in order to walk correctly, past club president Maureen Young immediately suggested the club hold a Gala Dinner to raise funds for the prosthesis. The club enthusiastically agreed and set a timeline of only two months.
The first step was finding a place available on such short notice. And the result was better than anyone expected: the Narooma Golf Club offered its facility free of charge and generously provided a dance band as well as prizes for the event. “The only cost to the Quota club for this great evening was for the meals and the printing of tickets,” notes Margaret.
Encouraged by the generosity of the Golf Club, Narooma Quotarians set out to gather goods and services from local businesses for “a monster raffle” and auction during the dinner. Says committee member Margaret Saker, “The response to our request was overwhelming.”
With fresh seafood hampers, bottles of wine, tickets for boat trips, furniture, a Sydney Harbour Bridge climb, and dozens of other goodies to entice the community, the Narooma club had little trouble selling raffle tickets as the invitations went out for the dinner dance. Some 110 people reserved seats for the event, while many others sent donations along with their regrets.
A Tremendous Success
The Narooma club worked diligently to decorate the facility on the day of the event and display the many items for raffle and auction. “It looked terrific, with blue and white balloons suspended from the ceiling,” Margaret says.
When guests arrived, Quota members sold more raffle tickets and kept the event lively and fun for everyone. When the results were totaled, the auction was a success beyond the club’s wildest dreams, bringing in Aus.$10,500—twice as much money as they had hoped to raise. “We were fortunate to have Lindsay Quonuey, the best charity auctioneer in the area, offer his services to us. He is the husband of a Quotarian, who with the help of a few members, had the knack of getting the best possible bids from the audience,” Margaret adds delightedly.
The local paper, The Narooma News, gave the event rave reviews, calling the evening “a top night of fun and entertainment.” The paper also credited auctioneer Quonuey and emcee Clare Cork, who now serves as club president, with setting the enjoyable tone: “Humour was the order of the night as they encouraged spirited bidding for the large number of items for auction.”
In addition to paying for Denyson’s medical needs, the club brought the community together for the fun and fellowship members enjoy in their Quota club. And, according to Margaret, “It was the highlight of Narooma’s social calendar.”
The success made the Narooma club proud, adds Margaret. “We learned that by believing in the project at hand, setting goals, and working together, great things can be achieved.”