It’s all for the babies. That’s what Andrea Halbig says about her three children, her SnickerDoodle Kids Art business, and her most recent endeavor — a March of Dimes celebrity paint party auction that brought in around $1,000.
“The idea of so many people becoming aware of the March of Dimes through this makes a huge difference in our community,” Halbig says. “Even if someone out there hasn’t had the March of Dimes affect their lives, I’m sure they have a friend or family member” who has been impacted even if they aren’t aware of it.
Halbig decided to host the March 17 event because two of her three children, 9-year-old Warren and 4-year-old Oliver, were born premature. She went into pre-labor at 24 weeks with Warren and received steroid shots to help develop his lungs. She later learned that the March of Dimes helped fund the research tied to the steroid shots.
“I actually got (the steroid shots) with all three babies,” Halbig says. Thanks to the March of Dimes, even though her boys were premature, they “didn’t have to be on breathing machines. After that, I wanted to get involved so no one (else) had to go through this.”
The March of Dimes is a national nonprofit organization with an Evansville office that helps mothers have full-term pregnancies. It also shares its best practices in prenatal health, and it continues to have a local impact. Of Halbig’s three children, both of her sons were placed in the neonatal intensive care unit. Her only daughter Kate, 7, was born full-term after Halbig went into pre-labor at 20 weeks.
The fundraiser was held at SnickerDoodle Kids Art, three weeks after Halbig opened the studio. In all, 14 adults and children participated in the paint party, which Halbig led and instructed.
The picture for the night was to be a guitar, with a “75” painted to look like a sticker in honor of the March of Dimes’ 75th year. The guitar itself “has no meaning other than just being fun,” Halbig says. “I made some new friends, had a wonderful time. I hope to do it again next year.”
Meanwhile, at first, Halbig didn’t know if her idea would become a reality.
The first person she contacted was Shawnda McNeal, a morning host on Hot 96-WSTO FM.
“I sent her a Facebook message, not sure if it would even be seen,” Halbig says. Yet McNeal responded almost immediately and volunteered to contact her friends “in the business.” The rest fell into place soon afterwards when a variety of local celebrities and civic leaders decided to participate as well.
The paint party included Halbig and her daughter, Kate; McNeal and her son, 4-year-old Howie; Jackie Monroe; Diane Douglas; Atom Smasher; Claire from HOT 96; Mike Ball, the division director of the local March of Dimes; Holly Pendleton of Holly’s House; Police Chief Billy Bolin of the Evansville Police Department and his son Eli, 10; and Kristen Tucker of Tucker Publishing Group and her son Maxwell, 14.
The party was an overall success for both Halbig and the March of Dimes. But in the end, Halbig says it’s not about the money.
“No matter how much money we raised, the thousands of people that came in contact with the information through this process makes a world of difference,” Halbig says. “The funding of the March of Dimes (enabled) the research to help cure polio. This is next on our list. We’re going to figure out what causes pre-labor and delivery so families don’t have to go through this.”