Carrie W. Reisser is a teacher/tutor/writer/sci-fi nerd/Dodgers groupie/Auntie Kee-Boom living in southern California. She spent her teen and early adult years starring in, adapting, writing, and directing community theatre. In 2005, she obtained a degree in Multiple Subject Education from Cal State Channel Islands, a school renowned for being densely haunted because it used to be an insane asylum and (according to legend) was the inspiration for the Eagles’ “Hotel California”. She recently received Random Acts’ coveted Castiel Award for “being most in need of a hug”, although she suspects it might be because she wears nothing but trench coats and has declared herself a soul-stealing supreme deity. In her spare time, she enjoys playing with her niece Ella and nephews Zion and Phoenix, kicking butt in Mario Kart Wii and losing every game of Words With Friends she plays (ID : Kee-Boom), doing cross-stitch (although her craft scissors were confiscated in Port-au-Prince), and leering at old Supernatural episodes on TNT. Now that she’s returned from Haiti, she’s trying to readjust to a climate in which she is not constantly sweating. So far, no luck — she has developed Stockholm Syndrome for oppressive perspiration.

Meet Carrie Reisser

Where are you from?

Thousand Oaks, California

What made you want to go to Haiti?

I signed up for Misha’s twitter feed after watching “The French Mistake” (I figured if the writers were riffing on it, it must be worth checking out – I was right), and the Hope to Haiti invitation went out not long after that. I haven’t been on a trip like this since summer of 2008, when my parents and I were on a team that went to Uganda for three weeks. My parents have gone every summer since (they’ll be in Uganda while we’re in Haiti!), but I haven’t been able to make the trip, for various reasons. When I saw the video, I got a very strong feeling that this was something I was meant to do.
What are you hoping to take away from this experience?

A sense of accomplishment – the last couple of years have been sort of difficult for me, and I haven’t felt like I was going anywhere. The best way to help yourself is to help others; I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the Golden Rule – do unto others as you would have them do unto you – is found in every major religion in the world. I hope to come home spiritually renewed.

How did you approach the task of raising $5,000 in donations?

When I first looked at that amount, I almost gave up right then and there. $5000? In THIS economy?? But I signed up anyways, and I seeded the pot by kicking in some money myself. Then I started posting on Facebook…sometimes three to four times a day. (I’m sure my Facebook people are very glad that the fundraising period is over.) For a long time, the number didn’t move at all. My mom told me not to give up – she told me that a lot of people wouldn’t want to donate in the beginning, because there wasn’t any guarantee that I would be going, but that if I could build momentum, more people would chip in. “Well, how the cuss do I build momentum if no one will donate in the beginning?!” I lamented.

The first breakthrough came when I told the mom of a gal I tutor to forgo writing me a check and just donate to crowdrise instead. She was impressed – and ended up donating a LOT more than she owed me. I threw in money when I could, and so did Mom. I asked my cousin Michelle to help out as well, and she got some friends of hers to donate.

On June 6 – a week before the deadline – I was at $2500. When you hit the halfway point, you feel like you’re “pot committed”, as they say in poker, but getting the other half still seemed a Herculean task. So Mom sent out emails to a lot of her friends, asking them to help out. She and my dad have donated to a lot of other people’s missions trips over the years (a bonus of growing up in a “mega-church”), and the response was overwhelming. By the time Monday was over, $600 had come in. And man, did I start praying – hardest I’ve prayed in years – and other friends started praying for me too. A dozen little things miraculously fell into place; on Friday morning (just an hour or so before my parents left for the airport), my dad handed me an envelope with a loan that would get me to $5000 and to pay my travel expenses. I was officially the last person to make the cut. God is good!

I’m still floored when I think that there are almost 220,000 minions at this point…and that, of all the people who saw that post, only 22 of us get to do this. That’s 0.01%, sports fans. That’s seriously amazing.

What are a few of your best fundraising tips?

Pray. Ask for help. Pray. Don’t give up. Pray. Repeat.

Can you offer any words of encouragement to those still working towards their fundraising goal?

Well…the deadline has passed, so…