Colorful collage full of ideas, seeds once planted by our parents and their parents, right now, blooming into colorful flowers, now held delicately in our world.
I just came home after a full day at a leadership retreat, workshop or gathering with about 100 of the most intelligent, passionate, and skillful executive leaders and educators. The meeting was hosted at one of the leader’s log cabin home, positioned on a 10 acre estate right on the lake front. It was a perfect day. Inspired and Energized are some of the adjectives that I can use, out of many, to describe this event. I met powerful and influential people who were genuine in so many ways. Everyone had the same purpose to ensure young people succeed, with education as one of the cornerstones. The statistics I heard were mind boggling, only 1 out of 5 young people attend college in the Midwest and the high school graduate percentage is plummeting. How are we to take care of our children and grandchildren? We are so concerned about living in the now; we are forgetting about those choices affect them. As one of the leaders stated, "It's like we are shooting ourselves in the foot."
I was inspired to hear of the amazing programs that are currently being initiated; one for example is creating a camp for high school kids who are struggling and in a high risk situation, borderline dropouts. This camp is entirely volunteer-run, focusing on teaching up to at least sophomore level algebra; because, studies have shown that this math level is enough to give the student the basic math concepts to enter college and the option to get there.
I could not believe the energy that came from this day jammed packed with strategic work group activities. All of whom were volunteering their time, taking their time away from their daily lives to attend this day full of purpose.
We truly are in this together, and if we each do our part, encourage and support education by providing whatever resources we can give; whether it be mentoring, coaching, teaching, sharing our thoughts and ideas, giving our time, providing product, volunteering our services, or giving money; anything will help support our kids and the future they will be leading.
We cannot rely on the government, who, in my opinion, takes every resource and sucks it up into a vacuum spitting out compost in return. It is our innovative application that will only be a part in making that difference.
Just recently, I figured out that if I follow my heart it will lead me to great things. Before I could go anywhere, I had to take time to contemplate, meditate and just be in the moment, to understand what it was that was in my heart. I realize that my passion is truly helping all ages in all areas of education (reading, math, sciences, fitness, & arts), this includes not only the taught, but the researchers, scientists, artists, teachers and coaches who do the teaching. I know, wholeheartedly, that reading is fundamental and when a child can read it opens the world of opportunity for them. So, now that I'm getting closer to my heart, understanding who I am, I realize there is a reason why I am involved with this wonderful foundation, because it is about the young people. Those innovative teachers and students who will help make our world a better place for the future of my kids and your kids.
In addition to contributing my energies towards higher education, I most recently found out that there are two organizations where I can give back to young people and communities in needs. There is an organization called Layla House, which is a volunteer organization where people come and help out at orphans (with aids) in Ethiopia. In addition, Ethiopia Reads, an organization that develops communities in Ethiopia, is a place where I will live for a month and help rebuild communities. Even if it is only that I help take and distribute books from one town to the other, walking a donkey and cart with donated books; this is their traveling library. I will help in a very small way. It is something I feel in my heart that I need to do, to help young and old, so that I can understand and help rebuild their communities.
After an inspiring day with strong leaders, I now realize, that I have been participating in our future, today; and I am truly making a contribution, as small as it may be, to help our world. All I can do is continue to listen to my heart and the messages that people share, hoping that what little I offer builds towards the larger contribution in educating a young mind, which I believe, will provide a future of the greater good.
Photos by Mary Minnella Lowisz
Reinvigorate - Reimagine - Reinvent - Recharge - Renew