GREENWICH, Conn. -- Lisa Davies started playing bridge two decades ago to relax and socialize. And while she's done that, she's also turned her hobby into a way to help numerous charitable organizations in the past three years.
"Some friends asked me to teach them how to play, and pretty soon I was giving lessons," she says. Those first lessons were given in her home to small groups, but word of mouth caused the demand to grow, and the classes expanded and formalized, moving to the Greenwich YWCA for larger groups. After a few years, someone at a resort in the Bahamas got wind of this great bridge instructor, and Davies was invited to travel there to teach, something she continues to do.
"Teaching wasn't something I had ever planned on doing," she says. "I just kind of walked into it." Her students insisted on paying some sort of tuition, something else she had never intended. "I didn't want to make any money for myself, so I decided to donate all the tuition income to charity." Davies decided to choose a different charity for each teaching session, so in the half dozen years she's been teaching many different organizations have benefited. "St. Jude's Children's Hospital in Memphis was the first one," she recalls. Others who have received funds include Memorial Sloan Kettering, Make A Wish, Autism Speaks, Boys and Girls Club, CitySquash and the YWCA.
The total amount isn't insignificant, either. "I estimate I've raised over $100,000 this way," Davies says.
While the money and the good it's done are nice, Davies gets just as much satisfaction from teaching her favorite game to new players each year. "It's a great way for people to meet and socialize," she says. "We have people who were complete strangers at the start of a class who have become best friends as a result of playing together.
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