Janesville woman rummages for respite

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Shelly Birkelo
July 30, 2015

JANESVILLE—Tirzah Casper has found a way to turn rummage into big-time cash for her favorite nonprofit.

“Family Respite Care Services is so grateful to have her on our team,” said Whitney Walraven, executive director.

In 2012, Casper joined the local organization, which offers trained respite providers, special-needs education and support services for children with disabilities in order to promote family stability.

Two years later, she joined its board of directors.

The 31-year-old Janesville woman recently received a certificate of appreciation from Family Respite Care Services for her continued efforts to raise money through Rummage 4 Respite.

“She has singlehandedly generated more than $1,100 through Rummage 4 Respite in 2014-2015,” Walraven said.

The small nonprofit adheres to a strict budget, Walraven said. The money raised through Rummage 4 Respite is used for Family Respite Care's programs and helps with overhead expenses.

“When we present our budget to potential funders, they want to see we are working hard and able to match dollars they are providing through fundraising to supplement our budget,” she said.

Rummage 4 Respite proceeds also allow Family Respite Care to provide some activities during its monthly Night of Respite and Sibs' Night. The organization wouldn't be able to afford those extras without Casper's help, Walraven said.

Casper started the fundraiser about a year ago when she joined the fundraising committee. She runs it out of her west-side Janesville garage.

The monthly sale was so successful that the fundraiser has been revamped from a physical event to an ongoing sale on Facebook.

“This way it can be any time all year and not only limited to once a month, (and) buyers can shop conveniently from their homes,” Casper said.

Casper said she "fell in love" with the organization after becoming a volunteer. She got her three children—ages 12, 8 and 2—involved and took on a more active role after becoming a board member.

As a special-needs family, the Caspers understand the struggles such families go through and their need for respite. One of family's children has autism-spectrum disorder.

“She is an exceptional person, plus a wife, the mother of three, home-schools her children, raises funds like no other and is an autism therapist for Mercy Options' autism program,” Walraven said.

“She kicks butt at everything she does,” she said.

Casper said Family Respite Care is "a fabulous organization that does so much for the community, is constantly looking to evolve and all about giving back to the community in any way it can.”

“It's something my family can take part in and give back to the community,” she said.

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