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HOW TO raise 77K

I know what you're thinking. With all the ads and videos online talking about ways to raise millions overnight while you sleep, you don't need another HOW TO story, but wait a second, my friends – there is much more to this HOW TO story. No, this is not a get rich scheme or some pie-in-the-sky training program – it is a story about a hard-working group of people acting together to make changes in their community.

Yes, a group of farmers, teachers, doctors, construction workers, business owners, stay at home moms, dog groomers, salespeople, dentists… gathered together and created a 5K run fundraiser. Just everyday people with a great idea and a pile of passion.

We met up with Terri Peters and family at the Burfordville Covered Bridge to get the scoop. Teacher, farmer, kids, fundraisers - not professional runners.

My name is Terri Peters. My husband Jeff and I have been married for 16 years and live near Burfordville. Jeff is a farmer (row crop and cattle) and does hauling with a dump truck and skid steer work. I am a PreK teacher at Kelly Elementary school in Benton. We have two children - Julia is ten years old in 4th grade and enjoys reading, arts/crafts, playing with our cats and dog, and riding her bike. Thomas is 7 1/2 years old in 2nd grade and enjoys riding in the tractors and helping on the farm, gardening, reading, riding his bike, and being outdoors. We genuinely enjoy country life and living on a farm.

I applied for and received an Action Team "seed money" grant from Thrivent Financial to help with the supplies needed for the Kick-Offfff party. We attended the kick-off meeting in September to learn about how the fundraiser would work and the two organizations benefiting from the fundraiser this year. We, as a family, wrote letters asking family and friends to support Eagle Ridge Christian School. I also asked several local businesses if they would be willing to be a corporate sponsor, and Alliance Bank graciously donated. We have been involved in fundraising for Eagle Ridge for five years, so many of our friends and family are always ready to help and support the kids.

The actual fundraising event was a 5K cross country run. Thomas attacked the run and kept up with several older students. He finished 2nd in the boy's division 14 & under with an impressive time of 23 minutes, 10 seconds. Thomas said the hardest part was running up the big hill to the soccer field and the best part was crossing the finish line!! Julia and I did more of a run/walk combination, so our times were not as impressive, but we completed the course and had a great time! Jeff was unable to do the run because of work.

Burfordville Covered Bridge is the oldest remaining covered bridge in Missouri. Joseph Lansmon began its construction in 1858, but it is unclear if the bridge was completed before or after the Civil War. The bridge was not mentioned in St. Louis newspaper accounts of the 1861 burning of Bollinger Mill, located next to the bridge. After the Civil War, the bridge became a vital link, especially to farmers driving wagonloads of grain destined for the mill.

After meeting Terri and family, we decided to meet up with Rachel, the Director of Development at Eagle Ridge, to see what the fundraiser delivers.

573: Tell us about Eagle Ridge.

My name is Rachel Mellies. Eagle Ridge Christian School was started in 1982 by my dad, Mark Carbaugh, who is the pastor of Rock of Cape. My dad, my mom, my grandmother (dad's mom), and our current administrator, Janice Margrabe were all involved in the launching of the school. I remember when I first began school as a Kindergartner, my mom was my teacher and she taught multiple classes in one classroom. There were three classrooms that held K-6th. Throughout the years, Eagle Ridge has become Cape Girardeau's Regional Christian School, with grades going all the way to 12th.

The whole reason the school was started was "to provide a place where parents and teachers could work together in cooperation to teach, train and raise children in the principles of truth based on the Word of God. We have many different churches and denominations represented here throughout our student body and teachers, all working towards the same goal. This school year is the largest enrollment we have ever had. We are at 219 and are maxing out in some areas, which is a good thing. So we are looking to expand and are excited to see all that is in store.

One of the comments we hear a lot is that we genuinely have a "family atmosphere" here at Eagle Ridge. When you come to this school, you become like part of our family. You can feel it when you walk in. We have many Eagle Ridge graduates who have even returned to work here and now have their kids going to school here. For many, the school has played a significant impact on their lives, and they want their kids to experience that as well. My husband and I both graduated from here, both work here and now have our three children enrolled here. Zach is in 3rd grade, Christian is in Kindergarten, and Hannah is in the 1-year-old class.

One of the other unique things is that the church and school have continued to work very closely together throughout the past 37 years to provide a positive atmosphere for the students and their families. If you are on staff here at the church, you also work in the school. It's actually pretty cool to see how the two work together. Monday-Friday school is in session, and then on the weekends, it gets transformed for church. We have carpeting that comes out, chairs, and stage lighting. Needless to say, it definitely takes teamwork on both sides.

We also have a Food Pantry here at the church that helps local families in need. My grandmother, Ruth, helps with that. My mom, in addition to working alongside my dad as pastors of the church, heads up the school music program, and my brother (when he's not working) comes in and creates any video productions that we need for the church and school. We have other multi-generational families who work together here as well.

This year we had our annual 5K Run and Prayer Walk and Fall Festival on November 2 to help raise funds for our school. This event was a celebration of all the hard work that had gone into this event. There were five weeks where our families were raising money. God truly moved on the hearts of our donors and sponsors this year! We were able to raise over $77,000! The funds raised will go towards purchasing a ventilation system in our science lab, adding more chrome books for our upper elementary, more security upgrades, and funds to help cover our general expenses towards the end of the school year. In addition to helping raise funds for our school, we were able to bless our community. This year, 30% of our Net Income went towards two local organizations in our community, "Care Portal" and "Hope for One More."

"CarePortal is an online platform that brings the needs of hurting children and families in your community to your attention. Caseworkers uncover the needs. CarePortal makes local churches aware, giving them a real-time opportunity to respond."

"Hope For One More is a full foster care support and advocacy agency that continues to grow, currently serving more than 1,000 children in foster care each year in Southeast Missouri."

With 1/3 of our local community living at the poverty level and many who are struggling and with no family help, we realized that if we can connect our resources with other local churches and families, we can be a blessing to many!

When I visited the school, there were many things that became very apparent to me. One was that the school goes from Infants (6 weeks) - 12th grade. At first, this seemed crazy to me, but after talking to Rachel, it all began to make sense. It's a school, a preschool and a daycare for like-minded parents who want a particular type of care for their children. The second thing that stands out is how this school does genuinely run like a family – and that is because it is run by a family and other like-minded families caring and teaching each other's kids. But I have to say the most impressive thing about Eagle Ridge is how they transform their gymnasium into a church decked out with the latest video production gear so it all can be reviewed and shared with anyone who couldn't attend the service.

You can learn more about Eagle Ridge Christian School at

A Special Thanks to all the 5K fundraiser Sponsors:

Gold Sponsor: M&M Sign and Installation

Silver Sponsors:

Bronze Sponsors:

PK Construction

Ricky Parker Farms

This was a sponsored editorial paid for by Eagle Ridge Christian School.


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