It was about a year ago that I decided that Children of the Spills, referred to at that point simply as "a project about youth and oil spills" was going to happen.  I had already spent a couple months calling, e-mailing, and sitting down with people, trying to figure out if the project really had merit.  In early 2011, I finally made the commitment to it.  I didn't have funding yet, but I decided not to apply for a job in the fall.  Children of the Spills would be my job.  

A year later, the project has blossomed into something real.  Nearly 50 people have participated in oral history interviews, and countless more have been part of informal conversations about the effects of oil spills on kids.  I've been on the phone all week, speaking with educators, after-school program directors, youth group leaders, researchers, scientists, community organizers, artists, and counselors in preparation for my upcoming trips to Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.  A part of me can't believe this is actually happening!  But it is. 

And it couldn't have happened without the generous and amazing support of many people and organizations.  So thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way.  Since the beginning, I have found encouragement and support from a diverse array of people throughout the United States and even beyond. You know who you are, and I hope you know just how important every piece of advice, every loaned book, every smile has been.

I'd especially like to thank those organizations that made the substantial in-kind or monetary contributions that allowed the project to get off the ground:

And I am forever grateful to the individuals and families that have graciously donated to the project:

  • Benjamin Gibson
  • Bob Shavelson and Miranda Weiss
  • Chris and Pat Moss
  • Deb Lowney and Ralph Brosches
  • Erika Gavenus
  • Francie Roberts
  • Gary and Suzanne Gavenus
  • Paul Mackie and Tracy Asselin
  • Ilene Baskette with Boat House Buddies

Thanks also to Switgard Deusterloh & Stephen Bodnar and Kristin & Danny Carpenter who all provided a cozy (and free!) home-base during my travels.  And of course my parents, Paul Gavenus and Ginny Espenshade who allowed me to come home to my high school bedroom, kept me well-fed, didn't get too grumpy when I transformed the dining room table into my personal office, helped me to decipher hard-to-understand mumbles while transcribing interviews, and generally put up with me.  I didn't even have to pay rent, although they did threaten a few times!