Taking the Leap: Friends In Deed Goes “Over the Edge” for Washtenaw County

A legacy of service

Friends In Deed, a Washtenaw County nonprofit organization, has been steadfastly serving the community for over 35 years. Their mission? To lift people out of poverty by filling in the gaps left by other nonprofits. From preventing utility shut-offs and keeping cars on the road to distributing over 2,000 pieces of furniture to those in need, Friends In Deed’s impact is profound and far-reaching.

Scaling new heights

Photo provided by Elisa Guyton.

This year, Friends In Deed is taking their mission to new, dizzying heights with the “Over the Edge” fundraiser on Sept. 23. Participants will rappel down buildings, not just for the thrill, but to make a tangible difference in the community. 

The concept, introduced five years ago through an unexpected cold call, was initially dubbed a “crazy idea.” Yet, as Elisa Guyton, Friends In Deed’s Development and Communications Director, recalls, “Despite early skepticism, our executive director, Sarah, presented it to the board of directors, who embraced the concept wholeheartedly. Today, we’re going ‘Over the Edge’ to combat poverty in Washtenaw County, turning that ‘crazy idea’ into a powerful force for positive change.”

The enthusiasm for the event is palpable within the organization. From board members to staff and even their children, a strong contingent from Friends In Deed will be participating. Guyton herself didn’t hesitate to embrace the rappelling challenge, showcasing the organization’s unwavering commitment.

The impact

But why go to such lengths? The funds raised from “Over the Edge” will serve as essential operating capital, ensuring these programs continue to shine.

“It’s all about keeping the lights on, quite literally, to continue our mission of alleviating poverty in our community,” Guyton said. 

The stories of those touched by Friends In Deed’s efforts are heartwarming. A young mother, despite her college degree, once struggled to advocate for herself. With the organization’s support, she transformed her life, achieving four promotions and recently purchasing a home.

Another tale speaks of a veteran who, after securing housing, lacked basic furniture. Friends In Deed stepped in, and he later expressed his gratitude, saying, “This is the last house I’ll ever have, and Friends In Deed made it a home.”

Support the cause

Photo provided by Elisa Guyton.

For those inspired to support beyond the “Over the Edge” event, the organization does have some pressing needs, from warehouse cleanup due to recent storms to recruiting allies for their Circles program. Every bit of assistance, whether it be volunteering to donations, helps.

“By getting involved, you become an essential part of our mission to create a brighter future for those facing poverty in our community. Together, we can make a lasting difference,” Guyton said.

In closing, Friends In Deed has a message for the community: “Individuals can indeed rise out of poverty, but this journey requires a collective investment from the community itself. By reaching out and extending a helping hand, we demonstrate the value of each person, their potential, and their ability to thrive. Together, we can create a community where everyone has the opportunity to overcome poverty and build a brighter future.”

So, whether you are game to take the literal leap “Over the Edge” or are supporting a rappeller from the ground, every effort counts. It’s a bold step, but for Friends In Deed, it’s all in a day’s work to make Washtenaw County a better place for all.

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