I will never forget the day back in 2011, when Kenny, an energetic and optimistic employee, came to me and said “we should let people write on the brick wall!” I bit my tongue and did not say anything at first. Did he know this was a family place? You know a place where people brought their kids to get happy cups or frozen yogurt? I had visions of all the crazy things rebellious teenagers were going to write and draw on the wall and initially thought no way! Teenage boys then and now are expert penis drawers! I was certain, the wall would turn into a montage of penis art and that I we would never hear the end of it from parents. But, writing on the wall did seem fun and unique so, we ultimately decided to keep spare paint in the back to cover up anything awful and give it a go!

The first two iterations went well, the penis count was low and people really enjoyed signing the wall.

It just felt like we were missing something or that we could do more with it. Around that time we had been approached by a number of non-profit-organizations to do spirit nights and had given them a try. The events were fun and even though we donated a large percentage of sales, the organizations had trouble getting large turnouts and a minimal amount of money was raised. I think the desire to do something different and raise more money than spirit nights inspired the idea to sell bricks versus simply letting people sign the wall for free.  Now we just had to find a test case!

Enter Seaside Playgarden, the amazing school our children were attending at the time! We approached them with the idea of doing a fundraiser for the school using our wall and they graciously agreed to give it a try! I was terrified the night a dozen volunteers from the school showed up to paint the wall, excited about the idea and the money we were going to raise.  All I could think is what if no one buys bricks?  Its not that that I have complete lack of faith in humans or something, I just had not been to a restaurant that sold bricks for charity before and was feeling a ton of pressure for this crazy idea to perform. Well, it did not take long for the wall to start filling up and and the rest is history.  We raised more than $1700 for Seaside!

So now that we have briefly covered the history of the wall, here we are in the spring of 2019 with a freshly painted wall and another amazing and inspiring story behind it! Last year, I was approached by one of our regular customers, Marley Schickel, to help raise money for Wolfson’s Children’s Hospital. Wolfson’s holds a special place in Marley’s heart because she is a spinal tumor survivor and Wolfson’s helped her through it!  I asked Marley to share her story and have included it below. We were blown away when we learned about Marley’s story and it reenforced the idea for us that you really never know what people who come through our doors are going through or have gone through. We just knew Marley as a friendly, outgoing and happy regular. Now that we have gotten to know her more, we are inspired by what she has overcome and how she has used her experience to help others. She also reminds us that sometimes, what could be pretty awful, is more about how you frame it and tackle it versus what you fear it might be! Next time you are at Homespun, we would be honored if you helped us raise money for Marley’s cause by buying a brick!  White bricks are $3, Triangles are $15 and squares are $30.  100% of the funds go to Wolfsons.

From Marley:

“My name is Marley Schickel, I am 18 years old and am a Senior in high school at The Bolles School. In May of 2015, I had a major surgery to remove a tumor from my c7 vertebrae. Recovery lasted more than a year and I had to give up something I loved, competitive volleyball. This opened up a lot of time to try new things and kickstarted an amazing journey through high school.

I ended up applying to a semester school called The Outdoor Academy. I spent my fall semester of my sophomore year living disconnected from the outside world in the woods, where we would maintain high academics through hands-on learning on the weekdays and spend our weekends backpacking, climbing, canoeing, and becoming acquainted to the back country of the beautiful mountains of Pisgah Forest, NC. After returning for my second semester at Bolles, I was itching to do something that challenged me outside of the classroom once again, so I enrolled in online school so that I could begin an internship at Baptist Lyerly Neurosurgery Dept, where I shadowed neurosurgeons, including my own, through craniotomies, craniectomies, angiograms, and rounds. This confirmed my desire to pursue a career in medicine.

After a summer of competing in triathlons and lifeguarding at the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club, I returned back to Bolles for my senior year and joined the swim team to continue my training. One of my favorite high school experiences was having the honor of being my school’s mascot, Bruno the Bulldog. Next year, my mascot will change to a Bruin, as I continue my studies of neuroscience at the University of California, Los Angeles on a pre-med path. As I look back on my 4 years of high school, I can’t help but notice this amazing journey all began with something that at the time, I thought had ruined my life. Whether I was at the top of a mountain I had just climb, at the bottom of a river I had just canoed, or observing a surgery much like mine, it was in these moments I realized the best things in life come out of the challenges life grants us.

It’s because of the surgeons, nurses, and faculty at Wolfson Hospital that I feel so in debt to them for the incredible care they showed me and my family. Wolfson hospital is renowned for taking in children despite their financial status and helping them overcome health barriers. Homespun is one of my favorite restaurants and is committed to helping the community through their wall fundraisers. Healthy living has been a priority in my life for a long time and Homespun embodies this healthy living through their organic food while maintaining a yummy taste. The money I raise through this fundraiser will directly go to Neuro oncology at the Wolfson Children’s Hospital which will help improve treatment for children with brain tumors.”