New Quad-Cities Scavenger Hunt Aims to Support Businesses, and New Nonprofit
If you’re sick of being stuck at home, want to help support a new local nonprofit, and some Quad-Cities businesses – and have a chance at winning $500, well, Annette Clevenger has got a deal for you.
She is founder and CEO of Narratives QC, a new organization that provides life skills coaching to at-risk young adults (ages 17 to 24) to empower them to find their path and purpose. “Our mission is to change the culture of the Quad-Cities by changing the trajectory of the next generation,” according to the group, which you can find at Narrativesqc.org.
Clevenger – a Rock Island native who’s worked as a psychologist in the Q-C for 17 years – has organized the first fundraiser for Narratives, a Q-C Scavenger Hunt.
Tickets ($10) are currently on sale for the Scavenger Hunt and are available until March 5, at eventbrite.com. The dates of the hunt are March 8-21 with a variety of local businesses participating.
Your ticket grants you access to over 30 unique clues that once you solve, will lead you to area businesses with a Scavenger Hunt sign. Check in on social media each time you find a sign and each check-in enters you into the drawing to win $500. Solve all of the clues and figure out the Q-C hunt mystery phrase to win a variety of gift baskets from sponsors.
A 1995 alumna of Rock Island High School, Clevenger earned her doctorate in clinical psychology from Wheaton College. She also studied at Illinois State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology.
Clevenger returned to the Q-C and established her own private practice, Terry Psychological Consultants, PC. For the past 17 years, Dr.
Clevenger (previously Dr. Terry) has strived to provide quality counseling services to adults, children, couples and families in the community.
She has a heart for bringing quality services to underserved populations and believes everyone should be entitled to the resources. Narratives, a new 501c3 nonprofit, launched last March.
“I have left my practice to start this,” Clevenger said recently, noting she saw a similar nonprofit in Springfield, Mo., that also does life coaching. Their focus is mainly on kids who have aged out of foster care.
“I thought it was a wonderful program, but honestly thought it could be improved upon,” Clevenger said. “I thought doing it more from a clinical, research-based perspective and opening it up for all young adults – you don’t have to come out of foster care.”
She saw a need here for offering life skills coaching (at no cost) for students and young adults, because there’s nothing like it going on in the Quad-Cities.
“Our young adults are this untapped resource, but also they’re so lacking in services,” Clevenger said. “There are so many wonderful services in the Quad-Cities – like Big Brothers Big Sisters, YouthHope – that target the young, grade school and high school age. But when you get past high school, you’re done.”
“And there are great services if you’ve made a mess of your life,” she said. “I think, let’s go preventative. Let’s help you find your path and purpose so that you don’t get yourself in trouble.”
Clevenger named her group “Narratives” for young adults to change their story.
“We want to change the narrative for what people think of young adults,” she said. “They’re often thought of as lazy and unmotivated, uncaring, undisciplined, undriven. So we want to change that narrative. We’re all writing stories of our lives. How do you and I tell the best story possible?”
“How do we empower young adults to change the story of their life?” Clevenger asked. “We’re gonna write new stories, and that’s how Narratives came about. Our tag line is “Writing better stories with our lives.’”
During the pandemic, they shifted to having clients access free talks with a life coach virtually, she said. They hope to meet again in person, distanced and with masks.
“Virtual is hard, tiring, time-consuming, taxing mentally and emotionally on the best of us,” Clevenger said. “When you’re not equipped mentally and emotionally, it’s hard to find connections in that. That’s why we’re transitioning back to in-person. They need the support in person provides.”
The foundation of Narratives is built on relationships, including successful mentors, she said.
“The pandemic has made that hard; it’s hard to do relationships virtually,” Clevenger said.
To offer free services, she is fundraising and applying for grants.
“If you’re living in poverty, barely making it paycheck to paycheck – how can you afford services to better yourself?” Clevenger said. “Their money management skills are so limited that they don’t understand. Sadly, they turn down insurance from their employers because it’s an extra $20 out of their paycheck.”
“Nobody’s taught them that; nobody’s taught the skills that get you out of poverty,” she said. “Those are things we take for granted as adults. If you know that, somebody taught you along the way.”
Getting off the ground with a hunt
The Q-C scavenger hunt is their first major fundraising event.
“I’m so proud of the Quad-Cities, because a lot of the places we would go to – like everybody else, are the small businesses, the locally owned restaurants, and they’ve been hit hard by the pandemic,” Clevenger said. “Their ability to give is limited and we totally get that. We’ve had a number of individuals who have at-home businesses; we have some realtors; they’re sponsoring signs in other stores location on their behalf.
“They want to see the small businesses in our community get the attention and get the exposure, and support Narratives by the same token,” she said. “My heart is warmed by this community event. They are coming together in wonderful ways, to support each other.”
The clues lead you to local businesses, and they have a sign in their door, so it’s Covid-safe. “Everything is visible from the outside, so you don’t have to go in,” Clevenger said. “You check in at that location and use the hashtag QCHunt, so we can keep track of social media check-ins.”
Every time you check in, you’re entered to win a grand prize of $500. There’s about 30 places in the area, so you can get 30 chances to win. If you solve the big puzzle, you also will be entered to win gift baskets and gift cards.
Clevenger worked to get many sponsors for the hunt, including $300 for a business to sponsor a clue and sign in the Scavenger Hunt. “Our hope is to give back to you in the form of social media marketing,” she said in their sponsorship options. “We are asking that you display the sign in a prominent location at your business (door or window) between March 8-21, 2021.”
They designed a clue specifically created for that business and location. The sign will include a word to the puzzle that participants will be trying to solve. The sign will also include your business check-in location and the following hashtags — #QCHunt and #NarrativesQC.
When people have solved the clue that led them to your location, they are asking participants to check-in at the location on social media. Each check-in they provide will enter them into the $500 cash drawing.
“We wanted the incentive to be checking in at the local establishments, and we really wanted to give back to the businesses,” Clevenger said. “One so that you might discover a new restaurant you hadn’t known or a new business. But also so your friends and family also discover that.”
You have two weeks to solve them, but even if you don’t get the 30, you still succeeded and have a chance to win the cash, she said. “We’re
trying to redefine success. The steps of you getting out, having fun with your family, if you solve 15 clues and had a great time, I would call that a success.”
When you check in on social media, it’s like if you were eating at a restaurant, you would post that you were there. “As long as you check in there and hashtag us, we’ll enter you in the drawing,” Clevenger said.
On Saturday, March 6, and Sunday, March 7 (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.), there will be an information packet pickup at 111 Perry St., Davenport, before the hunt begins on March 8.
The clues are not directed to the specific business, but the location or area surrounding the business. For example, a clue about Paul Revere would lead you to Paul Revere Square in Davenport, and you look for the Narratives sign at one of the buildings there. The sign also includes a word to help solve the mystery phrase.
Narratives life coach KC Cupp has had to step back from the group, since he’s busy with his other business, Buttercup Candles at the Freight House, Clevenger said. She’s in the process of hiring other life coaches for young adults.
Narratives is “in the business of helping them develop the necessary life skills through life coaching, mentoring, life skills classes and increasing their social capital,” according to the organization. “We know that when they succeed in becoming contributing members of our community, we all succeed.”
As a result of the Scavenger Hunt, Narratives also encourages participants to support the local businesses who have so generously donated to help the mission of Narratives.