February 21, 2000—Most everybody in this world needs to really wrap themselves up in something to feel complete. Some immerse themselves in their jobs, while others find their calling and comfort in family or a charitable cause.
And while many spend a lifetime discovering what “that certain something” is, thousands have found their calling through Susan Finch and The Binky Patrol.
Susan Finch was feeling lost, or in her own words, was firmly planted on a “pity pot” back in 1996. Her Laguna Beach art gallery wasn’t paying the bills, and she just wasn’t happy. And right when she wasn’t sure things could get much worse, she remembered her mother’s advice: If you’re feeling down, focus on helping others.
With that advice firmly in tow, she decided to combine her quilt-making skills and love of children into a project. She had a press release published in her local paper asking for volunteers, posted a sign up sheet in front of her business and started to make blankets to give to children and teens in need. In no time at all, The Binky Patrol was under way, and Susan was popped off of her pity pot and neck-deep in one of the nation’s most compelling volunteer organizations.
“My plan was to go national in three years,” Susan said during a recent phone interview. With a phone in one hand and makeup in another, she was preparing for her full-time job as a marketing manager at Commpro, a PR firm that specializes in content-rich Web designing.
Her national exposure came in less than one month, however, when Oprah Winfrey got wind of Susan’s endeavors and featured the Binky Patrol on her show. Then Family Circle and other media groups came knocking on her door. They all wanted to hear her binky story, and thousands who heard it wanted to help.
Now, a little more than three years and 10,000 volunteers later, The Binky Patrol has crafted more than 60,000 blankets for children. You know them: The children who eat alone at lunch. The children who are always out sick. Children who have been tossed from place to place. The invisible children. Children who need to know that someone—anyone—cares.
Susan soon learned that The Binky Patrol not only provided security blankets for children, but empowered adults with their own security and skills.
The organization’s Web site, https://binkypatrol.org/, provides the tools and resources for volunteers to establish local Binky Patrol chapters for their community. Susan encourages volunteers to use the site and create their own, which ultimately increases their computer knowledge and other valuable skills. In addition, they also learn public relations skills, leadership and how to work with many different personalities.
“Some of [the volunteers] are just beginning to know about computers and technology. They’re learning and losing fear by trying. No one is telling them they’re stupid or doing it wrong,” Susan said.
Susan acquired her expertise the same way. When she joined Commpro as an office person, she kept her galary’s financial affairs in order on her 1989 MacIntosh system (which, by the way, she purchased for $12,000). Shortly after her arrival, the company’s designer and programmer left, leaving Susan and her boss, Greg Smith, to create and implement Web sites.
The self-taught computer whiz now uses those skills to maintain her site that was originally built by Commpro’s former designer and rebuilt several times since then. She throws out high-tech acronyms like they’re as simple as a straight stitch. She can upload an Internet site as quickly as she can whip up a blanket during the yearly Bink-a-thon.
But thankfully, the Mac is long gone and has been replaced with a Millennia PC through the micronpc.com Subscription Computing program. Although a pro, Susan still wanted plenty of hands-on support that she receives through the subscription program’s priority technical support offer. And because Binky Patrol is a not-for-profit organization, her budget is, well, as tight as the stitching on a quilt. The Subscription Computing program allows her to make small, monthly payments and upgrade her system every three years.Building A Future
Her full-time job at Commpro and her full-time calling at Binky Patrol leaves Susan little time for anything else. Every minute counts with her. She can interview and get ready for the day at the same time. She can send Binky Patrol press materials while she lands five- and six-figure deals for Commpro.
It’s a relentless lifestyle, but one that she doesn’t plan to change.
“My first goal is to comfort children. Second is to help people gain confidence and skills they never had and help them understand that there is something important inside of them that can be used to make a difference. My third goal is to make people a part of their own community through networking, schools, shops, to show that everybody is part of the same effort to provide comfort to these kids.”So while she’s busy building her own future, Susan Finch is helping to build the futures of thousands of people—children and adults alike.
Susan Finch is the common thread that weaves through thousands of people, touching their lives, providing a focus, and giving them “binkies” (literally or figuratively) that make them feel secure.
Jamie Dillon, Web Content Specialist at micronpc.com, may be reached at mailto:email@example.com