“We always say ‘it takes a village to raise our children’, but it takes a village to get them to church and get them involved too!”
For fourth grader, Peytyn Culbertson, the idea of paying it forward to her community is one that also involves everyone in her community.
Just two summers ago, Peytyn attended her first week of WinShape Camps for Communities at Coastline Calvary Church in Gulf Breeze, Florida. She and her family had recently moved and were looking for summer opportunities through their church when they found out about WinShape! But concerns of camp registration fees meant that Peytyn and her family had to do something special to help make camp more affordable.
Immediately Kris, Peytyn’s mother, turned to social media, offering to help with household chores in exchange for donations toward Peytyn’s registration fee.
“Peytyn was willing to walk dogs and even helped a friend weed flower beds for donations,” tells Kris.
But then Kris received a message from a friend that eventually brought Peytyn to camp.
“They said, ‘It’s great that Peytyn wants to work to raise money to go, but I want to be sure that she has the chance to go to camp,’” says Kris.
Before they knew it, the family friend offered to pay the remaining half of Peytyn’s camp fee, giving her the opportunity to experience her first summer at WinShape.
This act of generosity sparked an interest in Peytyn to pay it forward within her own community.
“I explained to her briefly that someone helped pay for us,” explains Kris. “But then, Peytyn asked, ‘what if I helped pay for a little bit of someone?’”
With the help of Kris and other family members, Peytyn began to create a plan of how she would raise money to help sponsor other campers within her community.
After brainstorming ideas with her mom, Peytyn saw the cute hairband on her wrist and devised a plan. With the help of Kris, Peytyn began to make hair ties using fold over elastic to sell as a way to make money for the sponsorships.
Peytyn’s hair tie business developed into what is now called “The Tie that Binds”. At just $3 a hair tie, Peytyn and her family were able to raise $950 to bring other kids within her community to WinShape!
What is even more incredible is that Peytyn never once found out which campers benefitted from her sponsorships, nor how many campers were able to go to camp because of her fundraising.
“I thought it was really neat because last year she sent these campers to camp, but never once she didn’t ask about the specifics, she just wanted to know that she was helping,” says Kris.
Even though she never knew the details of how her sponsorships affected her community, she knew that she wanted to continue making a difference the following summer.
“This year she wants to keep helping kids to come to camp,” says Kris. “I think this will stick for quite some time.”
Since the success Peytyn saw her first year fundraising, she has expanded The Tie That Binds to other support efforts such as Operation Christmas Child and Upward Basketball.
The impact Peytyn has seen through The Tie That Binds is one that has inspired her entire family to get involved.
“It is starting to be a family thing. It’s opened our eyes to see that we can do something too,” says Kris. “There’s always something and someone that needs help.”
Peytyn’s story is an incredible reminder that regardless of your age or influence, you can always make an impact.
“She had such a small idea — it was so tiny. She wanted to just help one. She just wanted to help and look! We’re at $1000 this year. It happens so fast,” says Kris. “The outpouring of love that people give when you don’t expect them to, you get to change some kids lives! It can be so small, but it can make a huge impact.”
For more information on how to get involved in The Tie That Binds, visit www.facebook.com/bethetiethatbinds.