Child Development

Let’s Make Nevada’s Big Give Bigger in Northern Nevada

Join thousands of Nevadans in supporting your favorite nonprofit organization on Thursday, March 23 for the 6th annual Nevada’s Big Give. Nevada’s Big Give is a statewide 24-hour online giving initiative to raise awareness of, and funds for, all nonprofits and schools that improve the quality of life for Nevadans.

The concept of Nevada’s Big Give was developed and initiated by NevadaGIVES board member, Stacey Wedding, a lifelong Nevadan who has committed her professional life and much of her personal life to the philanthropy sector. Wedding presented the concept to the NevadaGIVES board in early 2011. Soon after, Nevada was celebrating the first ever Nevada’s Big Give. In just the first year, online donations totaled $413,048 from 2,063 generous individuals throughout our great state. Fast forward to 2016. Nevada raised over $638,000 from 5,567 individuals. That’s a 35 percent increase in funding in five years. These numbers show that Nevadans have big hearts when it comes to giving.

So far, there are 33 Northern Nevada nonprofit organizations that you can help support on Nevada’s Big Give – including Sierra Nevada Journeys, Note-Able Music Therapy Services, Immunize Nevada, Reno Philharmonic Association, Nevada Humane Society, Nevada Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence, and United Way of Northern Nevada and the Sierra, to name a few. Some organizations have even partnered with each other to double their impact in the community.

For example, Sierra Nevada Journeys is partnering with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern Nevada for the second year to send 20 Littles to Sierra Nevada Journeys’ Summer Camp at Grizzly Creek Ranch in Portola, Calif. Summer camp immerses children in outdoor learning, teamwork and leadership, promoting achievement well past the campfire. To send 20 Littles to summer camp, Sierra Nevada Journeys has set a fundraising goal of $11,980. Donations will be matched up to $3,000 by a generous donor.

Note-Able Music Therapy Services is seeking $5,000 to provide weekly music therapy at The Eddy House, helping engage at-risk youth with music. Music has shown to be a powerful way for people to express difficult emotions, while experiencing the joy of expression and creating art.

The Reno Philharmonic Association wants to offer a free children’s concert at Wingfield Park, Beethoven Lives Upstairs, to Artown this July. This event will help introduce children in our community to classical music in an engaging setting. In order to bring the performance to Reno, the Reno Philharmonic Association needs to raise $7,500.

These three examples are just a glimpse of what organizations are fundraising for during this year’s Big Give.

Seek out your favorite nonprofit organizations or learn about new ones that match your passions, be it education, arts and culture, children and family, or the environment. Visit and make Nevada’s Big Give even bigger in Northern Nevada by participating and donating on March 23.

- Written by Megan Duggan, Marketing and Communications Director for Sierra Nevada Journeys

Jake's Story

“I showed up late and don’t have any friends yet.”

What a worrisome phrase for any camp staff member to hear but in this case it gives insight into why we all should value outdoor experiential learning.

At Sierra Nevada Journeys’ campus at Grizzly Creek Ranch located in the Sierra Nevada just outside of Portola, CA, we host youth groups, the majority of which are among the underserved.

The staff at Grizzly Creek Ranch had the privilege of spending time with children sponsored by the Reno Housing Authority for a week-long overnight outdoor learning program that started on Monday. During lunch the next day, I met Jake (not his real name). My custom is to wander among the children while dining and ask how they are enjoying the program, the food, whether they’re making friends and, in general, if there is anything we can do to improve their stay. That’s when Jake spoke up and said that he had only just arrived and hadn’t made any friends yet.

“Well, Jake…where have you been that you’re only here this afternoon?” I asked.

“I was in court,” said the 8-year-old, blonde-hair, blue-eyed boy.

I gulped but plowed ahead, “Jake, why were you in court?”

It was adoption court and I now have parents, a brother, uncles and aunts and an entire family. It’s great!”

Everyone at his table was suddenly transfixed.

Blown away and with a huge lump in my throat I said, “How absolutely wonderful, Jake. I am so happy for you! What a terrific and huge morning for you but I have to ask, why are you here rather than spending time with your new family?”

“I had a chance to come to camp and just couldn’t miss it,” responded Jake.

Overwhelmed and with tears, all I could muster was a smile and some mumbled words.

Jake and children like him are why Sierra Nevada Journeys serves to bring outdoor, experiential science-based learning to the next generation of Americans. We give experiences that build critical thinking skills and awareness required for future environmental stewards. The Sierra Nevada Journey mission is important to Jake’s success as well as the future prosperity and strength of this nation.

Join us. Contribute to the Sierra Nevada Journeys’ mission and goals. You can make a profound difference in children such as Jake who is but one of 80,000 (and counting) whose lives are influenced by experiencing the outdoors and being exposed to nature’s inherent science principles.

- Mark Owen, Campus Executive Director