This story was completed in conjunction with AmeriFirst Home Mortgage.
Southwest Michigan has a budding community of companies working together to improve the lives of their neighbors. For the last several years, AmeriFirst has helped to sponsor several of the Kalamazoo Division of the March of Dimes events with a special interest in the Annual Signature Chefs Auction (now in its 20th year). The March of Dimes is a national foundation that is invested in research, community service, education and advocacy all in the name of healthy babies. Dana DeLuca, the Kalamazoo Division Director, supplied the statistic that each year, nearly half a million babies are born preterm in the United States alone. The work that the divisional offices do throughout the year helps all babies to have the opportunity to have a bright and healthy future.
The March of Dimes touches many lives. Mark A. Jones of AmeriFirst Home Mortgage has made it a priority to be involved both personally and professionally in the work of the Kalamazoo Division for specific personal reasons. Jones explained, “My son Michael was born early. Our story isn’t unique, and Michael wasn’t born as early as many of the serious cases you hear about, but early is still scary to any parent. The research and resources from the March of Dimes helped make the early part of my son’s life much less scary.”
His story does not end there; rather, his story did not begin there. President Franklin D. Roosevelt originally created March of Dimes in 1938 to combat polio. It was not until the ‘50s that the focus shifted to happy, healthy babies following the polio vaccine. Jones’ father had polio as a teenager, and it was the work of the March of Dimes that helped him to lead an active, full life with the only remnants of the crippling disease being a slight limp. Jones goes on to say, “The March of Dimes helped save my dad’s life, then decades later helped save my son’s life. This is why I’m committed to helping the March of Dimes accomplish its next mission. This is an organization that gets things done.”
The Kalamazoo Division of March of Dimes, specifically, has some important events throughout the year all with the simple, but important, mission of mobilizing volunteers behind their mission to champion the needs of moms and babies. Some of their events include:
- March for Babies: This event is the March of Dimes single largest, fundraising event and it plays an integral role in the advancement of their mission.
- 20th Annual Signature Chefs Auction: This gourmet event features the skills and creativity of over a dozen of the finest chefs in Southwest Michigan. Guests enjoy food, a silent auction and the opportunity to bid on culinary experiences hosted by our Signature Chefs.
- World Prematurity Awareness Day: Premature birth is the #1 cause of newborn death. It has reached epidemic proportions in the U.S., endangering the lives of more than half a million babies every year. Through the month of November and especially on Prematurity Awareness Day, March of Dimes needs help and support in raising public awareness in communities.
- Breadlift: Student teams work to move the mission of the March of Dimes forward by going door-to-door in our community, accepting donations in exchange for a loaf of bread (provided by the March of Dimes).
AmeriFirst and the Kalamazoo Division of the March of Dimes are committed to improving the lives of babies (and everyone) in their community. Help the March of Dimes celebrate 75 years by getting involved in your own community. Visit the March of Dimes website to find out more, and you can find out more on the March of Dimes Kalamazoo Facebook Page.