In order to raise money for an International Service Project this past summer, Katie Liddell, senior kinesiology major, put an unexpected spin on collecting money and challenging her own abilities in the process.
Liddell vowed not to speak for three weeks, with the exception of when she was in class and her apartment, or until she raised $1,000 for her trip. She chose the silent fundraiser route, attempting something different, since she wanted to interact with those donating.
“I wanted to involve people and make them feel they were a part of my journey and this opportunity I’ve been given, versus (them saying), ‘Here’s some money,’” Liddell said.
After brainstorming this idea with her roommate, who came up with the idea one night, the silence began the next morning.
“We were skeptical of the idea at first because it was so different, but that’s exactly what we were aiming for, so she did it,” said Meghan Iteen, CBU alumna and Liddel’s previous roommate. “It was amazing to see her commitment.”
In order to communicate with those who did not understand what she was doing, Liddell kept a sign with her explaining the reason behind her silence.
“The first few days were super difficult,” Liddell said. “I obviously couldn’t talk to anyone so I couldn’t explain anything, even though I had my paper, people didn’t get it. It was just a socially unaccepted thing.”
Even something as simple as ordering food from various establishments was challenging, as she ordered using hand motions, mouthing words and handing employees pre-written orders on her cell phone.
The silence came with a twist though. If someone outside of class or her apartment wanted to engage in a conversation, Liddell would only allow herself to speak if one donated money towards her cause.
Liddell herself, even had a few doubts about this process since she did not receive any donations the first week.
She said people’s initial reactions were wary, but as people saw the process unfold, they saw it as a clever idea serving a greater purpose.
Not being in constant communication with all her friends and family, though, became frustrating at times for Liddell.
“I’m such a people person, I love relationships and I couldn’t build them,” Liddell said. “I started writing people notes because I couldn’t talk to them. The most challenging part of it all was not being able to use words.”
The many challenging times came with lessons learned throughout the
“I learned patience, and people around me learned patience since I was using hand gestures,” Liddell said.
Along with patience, Liddell got a sense of what it is like for people who are physically unable to speak.
“This fundraiser showed me just how much of myself and other people take for granted,” Liddel said.
She surpassed her goal of $1,000 and after 18 days she was able to speak again. Liddell said seeing God work through it all.
“Through this fundraiser, Katie raised awareness for ISP and learned what it’s like to be unable to communicate in a culture or community,” Iteen said. “She inspires me and many people on campus by her willingness to really reach out for support and make relationships with the sponsors.”