MEMBERconnection: Changing the world
On that trip, the Rothneys brought
140 pounds of school supplies and
soccer balls to be distributed locally.
purpose with a
Another time, they packed 170 pounds
of children’s clothing for
an orphanage. And thus
was born Pack for a
Purpose ( www.packfora
Travelers can scroll through the organization’s website to find a participating
lodging that accepts drop-offs. Supply lists
on the site are provided by the community-based projects that will receive them.
The website also features inspirational
stories from people who have partcipated
in the program—and made differences in
WHILE ON AN African safari, Costco member Rebecca Rothney experienced a life-changing “aha!” moment.
Every time she and her husband,
Scott, had visited Africa, they were each
allowed 100 pounds of checked luggage
plus a 40-pound carry-on, but were limited
to 25 pounds once on safari. In 2002, after
visiting a local school in Botswana sadly
lacking in supplies, Rothney found a creative way to help.
purpose.org), a nonprofit organization
that has since inspired travelers worldwide to donate more than 9,100 pounds
of supplies to 275 lodgings that support
community-based projects in 45 countries on five continents.
Rothney is quick to dismiss any praise.
She says, “I’m not Mother Teresa; I’m just
trying to empower individuals with information so they can make a good choice. If I can
do this, anyone can.” —Wendy Helfenbaum
“I thought, ‘I’ve got 200 pounds of free
shipping,’ so we contacted [tour operator]
Wilderness Safaris, asked what the schools
needed, and I told friends, ‘Don’t buy a coffee this week; get some school supplies—
I’m going back to Africa,’” recalls Rothney,
of Raleigh, North Carolina.
COUR TES Y OF PLAYA VIVA
Scott and Rebecca Rothney
The dangers of dating
DREW CRECENTE KNEW about the standard list of “must discuss” topics to cover with
his teenager: sex, drugs and alcohol.
He now wishes they’d discussed teen dating violence. His daughter, Jennifer Ann, a
senior honor student in Austin, Texas, was
shot and killed by an abusive boyfriend she
was planning to break up with.
“I have two main goals: to do good in Jen’s
name so she can continue to impact people
positively, even though she’s not here to do
that, and to protect others,” says Crecente, a
recent law school graduate.
Jennifer Ann’s Group was founded in
February 2006 by longtime Costco members
Crecente and Elizabeth Richeson, Jennifer’s
grandmother and a psychologist who functions as fundraiser and heads up the group’s
advisory committee and speakers bureau.
At Jenniferann.org you can find links to
Tablet or smartphone?
You can watch a video clip
from Jennifer Ann’s Group on
The Connection digital news-
84 ;e Costco Connection DECEMBER 2012
online resources, donate, become a corporate
sponsor and apply to be a speaker. Cards,
bookmarks and an annual video-game contest create awareness of teen dating violence.
The cards look and feel like a credit card
and feature 10 warning signs, a toll-free number and tips such as how to create a safety
plan. More than 500,000 have been distributed through school districts, police departments, health departments and churches.
Bookmarks feature the same information,
plus tips aimed at college-age students.
As for the video-game challenge, “I
needed an intangible that didn’t require distribution, and video games appeal
to my demographic of 11 to 24,”
Crecente says, adding that despite
his IT consultant background he
couldn’t create the game himself.
DR. ELIZABE TH L. RICHESON
The 2012 winning game,
DatingDangers1.0, features an
interactive quiz in which players
demonstrate their knowledge of
dating violence. It requires several
replays to explore the various
tracks. Previous games are available free on the site.
What would Jennifer have thought of this
endeavor? Crecente says, “She was a teenager,
so sometimes I hear her voice saying, ‘Oh, Dad,
you’re making such a big deal out of this.’ ”