It is a good thing that I am participating in Thankful on Paper or I would not even be writing!! Sorry for the lack of posts, I have been fighting a cold and that means that free time = sleep in my world this week because I do not even have the time to be playing the sick game!!! All that to say is that I am thankful for Thankful on Paper…moving along…
This week I would like to tell you about my Grandparents, in particular, my Grandmother. Last weekend I had the opportunity to travel to central California to visit my Grandparents. The visit was for an event celebrating the 10th anniversary of their arts foundation (the photo above is us at the event). The foundation was really the brain child of my Grandma – she believed that if she could find a way to provide free arts education for the underserved in her community that it would help decrease gang activity and crime and increase the chances of these kids graduating high school and furthering their education. Her thought was “build it and they will come”, so 7 years ago they broke ground on a facility that would allow them to have a ‘home base’ for the classes that had been taught for the previous 3 years. There were many skeptics as to whether the community interest would support such a project, but they have since been proven wrong as today more than 400 kids participate in 45 classes each week! There are countless success stories of the kids whose lives have been changed and this event was a showcase of some of those stories. As I sat there and listened to each person share I was overcome with emotion. She has given her life to these kids and they just adore her.
In that moment I felt so grateful to have been given such an amazing role model! She has shown me that there is pay off in following your passion and in serving others. A little over a year ago when I decided to leave my business to go into nonprofit, I had no hesitation as to whether or not it was the right choice. I could not explain how I knew, I just did. And now I can see why – it is what I have been shown through the incredible example that my Grandparents are. They have worked very hard for what they have and they give of it freely to help better others lives.
One of the students that had graduated the program was sitting at our table for lunch and he was telling us how he started at the foundation as a shy 7 year old and now he is in college and teaching acting classes at the foundation. He said that my grandmother was his angel and that she had truly changed his life. And that is just one example of thousands.
As she gets older and fights for her health (she has Parkinson’s Disease) I hope that she sees what an amazing legacy she has created – one that will keep giving and changing lives long after she’s gone. She inspires me to be a better person and to give to others freely. This trip also made me realize how fragile life really is and that I should take every moment that I can to spend quality time with my family and friends and to tell them that I love them frequently!
I am truly blessed!!!