Thursday, June 9, 2011

Does your Role fill your Soul?

  I've been meaning to write a blog about Pace Center for Girls, Inc. for over a month now.  As part of both my professional and personal growth, I've been thinking about getting involved with a local organization on the Board level.  As I sat down and thought about what causes I am passionate about - animals, women and children, and the less fortunate came to mind quickly.  As many of you know I volunteer every Monday at the Honor Animal Rescue by walking all of the dogs that are staying there while they wait to find their forever home - I love it, the dogs always put a smile on my face.  As a result of my work with Honor, I felt that I  had that cause covered.

  Next on the list was women and children. A professional colleague recommended that I look into PACE.  She is on the board and thought that it would be a good fit for me.  I attended a PACE Passport, which is an informative tour of PACE and a chance for you to meet the Executive Director, Development Coordinator, and some of the girls that attend PACE.  WOW, what a powerful experience! PACE is not only a school for girls in my community that have been overlooked and for a multitude of reasons cannot and will not make it in the public school system, but, it is also a safe haven for these girls. It is a place where they get compliments, attention, structure, and celebrated for being the amazing girls that they are. It is a place where they receive counseling, individually and with their families.  And, it is a place where they are empowered to know that they can do anything they put their mind to.  I just cannot describe how amazing of an organization PACE is for girls in the communities in which they serve! I left the tour knowing that I was sold on PACE and wanted to get involved immediately. 

  During the tour, the Executive Director mentioned that one of the ways that a person can help is to sponsor the cake for the monthly birthday celebrations that PACE provides for the girls.  She then made a comment that she hopes one day in the future they could get enough people in the community to sponsor a cake so that every girl at PACE would have her very own birthday cake on her birthday.  She stated that for most of the girls, the monthly celebration is the only acknowledgement they will receive for their birthday and that even if they do get acknowledged on their birthday, they probably will not get a cake to celebrate their special day.  This broke my heart - I'm tearing up just thinking about it.  My mom was a single mom and yes, we had our tough times and struggles, but, my mom always made me feel so special on my birthday and I always got a cake! So, I knew right then and there that I was meant to take on this project and sweeten up the lives of these girls! PACE is capped at 52 girls, and I know that I can get 52 people to sponsor a cake and shine a ray of light on a girl's special day. 

  I had my first meeting with the Executive Director of PACE on Tuesday regarding becoming a member of the Board of Directors of PACE.  It went really well and she is going to recommend me to the Board member that recruits board membership and I will hopefully meet with her in the next few weeks.  I told the Executive Director that even if the whole Board route doesn't work out, I still want to volunteer with PACE and make Project Birthday Cake come to life. 

  During my meeting with the Executive Director I mentioned that my whole life I have volunteered...whether it was delivering food to the elderly via Meals on Wheels; helping build a home via Habitat for Humanity; or being a Big Sister via the Big Brothers Big Sisters Big in School Program...volunteering has always been in my blood and that I guess on some level I always thought my career would incorporate my love for doing good for humanity.   I expressed to her that if law school didn't leave me with debt that rivals a mortgage on a house, that I would probably work for a non profit.  I expressed that my job, on a daily basis, does not give me that feeling of "doing good for humanity" that I so crave and desire.  She looked at me and said "your role does not fill your soul" - meaning my role as an attorney does not fill my soul and its desire to, what a profound and true statement! Her words have been stuck in my head for days now because I don't think I've ever been able to put into words the conflict that goes on between my head (you have financial responsibilities) and my heart (wanting to make a difference)....but now I can and I can do something about it.  I can fill my soul by making sure that PACE has the funding to continue to provide the outstanding services that it does for the girls in my community...the community that I grew up in.  I can fill my soul by making sure that the girls at PACE get celebrated on their birthday and that they know that I love them and that I care about them.  And, I can fill my soul by collecting donations of toiletries, for the girls that do not have deodorant, razors, personal care items, etc., things that I take for granted every single day. What a beautiful opportunity I have been given - an ability to fill my soul and to help fill a girls' life with love, positivity, and empowerment.

  I will let you all know how my second meeting goes and I'm sure I will be hitting some of you up for some donations soon...wink, wink.


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