BY JURRY TAALIB-DEEN
Journal Staff Writer
Normally, when someone celebrates their birthday, especially the milestone of turning 50, that person looks forward to receiving gifts. But Rhonda Sewell, government affairs, and media strategist for the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, wanted to do something different.
Instead of asking invited guests, some of whom included public and private leaders within the community, as well as members from various media outlets, to buy her gifts, or give her money, they registered online for her party, which would go to two local, charitable organizations.
“I wanted to do something more substantial then having pretty bows, and fancy cards,” she told The Toledo Journal, on Saturday night, October 15, at the Secor Building, 425 Jefferson. “I wanted to do something of substance for two causes near and dear to my heart,” she said.
Ms. Sewell, who turned 50 on September 30, raised funds for the Toledo Children’s Hospital Foundation, who is building a new Neonatal Intensive Care, NIC, Unit that will specialize in treating babies born addicted to drugs.
The second cause that will receive proceeds raised is the Library legacy Foundation, which is helping prepare kids to enter kindergarten. Both foundations will evenly split all contributions.
“When you become more seasoned in life, the attention turns away from you, and goes towards other people, or worthy causes within the community,” Ms. Sewell said, who’s also Chairperson for the Toledo Children’s Hospital Foundation.
“When I last checked, we had raised over $7,000 with more money coming in,” she said.
Amber Byrd volunteered her professional services of capturing the entire event on camera. “I volunteered to take pictures because this is such a good cause,” she said.
“Rhonda does so much for the community, that I wanted to come out and support this worthy cause,” said Michelle McCaster.
Michael Marsh, president and CEO of Toledo Fair Housing, also attended the birthday celebration stating, “I’m supporting this event because Rhonda does so much for the community. She turned her milestone of a half a century of living, into this wonderful party with a purpose. She really loves Toledo.”