Sunday, April 13, 2008
Episode 7 - "The Big Family Reunion":
To start this challenge, Oprah greeted the contestants in Chicago for a surprise start - while the contestants figured that Chicago was their next target city, Oprah actually told them that they would be sent to their hometowns for "The Big Family Reunion" challenge. Brandi, Cameron and Stephen were then told that they would have 4 days and $10,000 to give the biggest to their communities.
Cameron headed to Roanoke, Virginia, Brandi to Sierra Vista, Arizona and Stephen to Bedford, New York.
Cameron's Big Give in Roanoke:
When Cameron arrived home he got right to work with his friends and family brainstorming what to do. His mother told him about the Corvin family whose daughter was diagnosed with a second series of bone cancer and that they had recently applied for financial assistance.
Cameron went to meet the family and get a feel for what they needed. After talking to Skylar's parents, Cameron planned his goals to get the family a new car, help with their credit card debt and do a room makeover for Skylar.
Stephen's Big Give in Bedford:
Stephen's challenge was tougher on his that the other contestants because he was the only one left with children, so his first task was to visit with his family and attend his daughter's lacrosse game. When he finally had the chance to sit down with family and friends to brainstorm he learned of a women's shelter in his community and shared that he had really never been involved in his community in that way before.
Stephen contacted the Northern Westchester Shelter and was able to sit down with a small group of women and the director and discuss their needs - a better security system being the main need.
Brandi's Big Give in Sierra Vista:
Brandi decided to focus on the children in her community and heard from her mother's friend about Lynette Wilson who has 5 children with autism and was busy trying to raise money to send them to a summer camp for autistic kids. Brandi surprised Lynette with $3,000 to help pay for the kids camp costs.
Brandi also learned of Alysianna, and 11 year old suffering from brain tumors. While talking to Alysianna, Brandi learned that she was a big fan of the Miss Sierra Vista Pageant and being a previous title holder herself, Brandi was able to connect with the right people to make a day for Alysianna.
Cameron's Big Reveal:
While Cameron finished his plans, he sent the family out to dinner and a movie to organize their surprise. When the family returned they were met with over 100 of their friends, family and neighbors to support them. Cameron started presenting the family with their surprises including a new laptop for Skylar already set up with her own website, $5,000 to help with rent for the rest of the year, $10,000 of Cameron's start money, a brand new 2007 Ford Fusion and a new bedroom and living room redesigned for the family with all new furniture!
Brandi's Big Reveal:
Since Brandi chose to help 3 separate families with children who needed help, her big reveal was more intimate. Brandi met the Thomas family who's son had a near drowning accident and suffered severe brain damage - at 3, he can't walk or talk and needs therapy to help him progress. To help out the family who is struggling financially, Brandi presented them with $1,000 to put towards their therapy bills.
To finish her reveal for Alysianna, Brandi was able to get the current Miss Sierra Vista to present a crown that Aly could keep and a day as Miss Sierra Vista complete with a parade and her entire school's support!
Stephen's Big Reveal:
Stephen's big reveal came as a get together with family and friends for a fund raising event for the Northern Westchester Shelter. Everyone opened their wallets to raise money for the women's shelter after Carla, the executive director, shared how the shelter is a safe haven for women who have experienced abuse. Stephen was able to raise a total of $43,000 to help the shelter get the hi-tech security system they desperately needed!
Oprah's Surprise for the Contestants:
After the big reveals were through, Oprah sent a txt message to the contestants telling them to fly to Orlando where they would get further instructions. When they arrived they were met by Nate who introduced their big surprise - a private jet flown by none other than John Travolta! John flew the contestants to the Big Give Headquarters in Chicago in his 707 private plane and they even were treated to dinner while on the trip - Brandi had the chance to kiss John on the cheek, a big treat for her!
Big Give Judging:
When they arrived at the headquarters in Chicago, Oprah was on hand in Nate's place to lead the contestants through the judging. Malaak, Tony and Jamie went down the line to tell the contestants how they did:
Brandi: Brandi explained that her goal was to focus on children but that she wished she could have done more with her time in Sierra Vista. When asked if she did anything else for Alysianna, she explained that she did not address any other needs for the family, but instead gave her an experience.
Cameron: The judges were finally impressed to see Cameron get down and dirty helping with the bedroom remodel and that he was able to do amazing things for them. The judges did question Cameron's reasoning for only targeting one family but said that everything he did was great. One criticism Jamie had was that the proceeding took too long considering Skylar's condition.
Stephen: The judges noticed that going home was hard for Stephen being that he was the only one with children, something that was a distraction and a disadvantage for him. Aside from that, Stephen was able to raise $43,000 and really succeeded despite his struggle.
Contestant Eliminated: No One! John Travolta announced everyone would move on to the final!