Thursday, September 3, 2009

My Year of Hopefulness - One Life at a Time

"It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds." ~ Sam Adams

It's a glorious thing to get to live a day exactly the way we want it to be. This weekend, I'll be trying on the costume of a full-time entrepreneur. I'm getting ready to send my after-school program proposal to public school principals. Checking every "i" and "t" in the proposal, researching the best fit schools to target, and beginning to write the curriculum. I'm already fantasizing about spending tomorrow at my kitchen table, writing while the afternoon sun softly filters through the windows. It will be glorious.

Except when I'm scared, which I often am, when considering this proposal. If I think for too long about the task before me, my stomach starts doing back flips and my eyes well up. There are so many kids who have so little and need so much. I'm one person, with one little project. What kind of impact will that have when I consider that I want to reach hundreds of thousands, millions, of kids around the world? I am one small person. When I'm alone, this thought comes to the forefront of my mind and is undeniable.

I was just on the phone with someone, explaining why this project is so important, why it matters, and why I have to do this now. As I spoke, I felt the strength rising within me, the tears of frustration turned to tears of possibility and hope and dreams realized. And then he said something to me that I wish I could box up and carry around with me forever. Something that Jane Goodall communicated last night, too. He said that while I might need to pour everything I've got into this curriculum, that's only half of the program. The other half will be the love I give while teaching. Love I can give - I know I'm good at that. So now I know I'm already halfway there.

Last night, the 92Y had a slide show running with quotes and photos of Jane Goodall pertaining to her work around the world. One quote that struck me so hard was one in which she talked about having goals with a wide-reaching impact. "Although the challenges seem daunting at times, this is ultimately the only way to make lasting change – one life at a time." My pilot program is for 10 kids, barely a drop in the bucket compared to how many need this program. My hope is that those 10 will help others in turn, and so on. We'll use leverage and multiplicative efforts to achieve this ideal of helping every kid grow up to be a productive, creative, empowered adult.

Yes the challenges are daunting. They're downright overwhelming. I know in my heart that we can do this, that a small group of passionate people can start to set the world going in the right direction. Simply put, that's all I'm trying to do.

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