Sunday, November 10, 2013

Caring Commitment: Big Sister Association Celebration

"We are what we do for each other."
- Elizabeth Warren

Last night I had the chance to attend a celebration of the Big Sister Organization of Boston. It was a wonderful event held at Boston's magnificent Museum of Fine Arts. The event served to once again remind me of how important it is for educators to leave education circles regularly to interact with other agencies, organizations, and systems for inspiration, learning, and outreach.

For starters, the organization's story including the specific story of Colleen, a young woman from South Boston, whose life was greatly impacted by her big sister Gretchen. This story inspired me and reminded me of the tremendous impact that positive time and care have on children. These stories exemplified the night's theme, Big in Boston: Every Girl, A Masterpiece.

Further, the night was dedicated to Mayor Menino, Boston's long term mayor who is leaving office at the end of the year. Menino has been an avid supporter of the Big Sister Organization, and has made a point to recruit Boston area woman to serve. After his retirement he will serve on Big Sister's board. A highlight of the night for me was the chance to say thank you to Mayor Menino, a leader I've looked up to for a long, long time, and an example of someone who really cares about his job, and puts his best effort forward each and every day for the people of Boston--an effort that resonates in the community and beyond.

The evening was moderated with charm and humor by Charlie Baker, a candidate for Massachusetts' 2014 gubernatorial campaign, and Jack Connors, benefactor of many Boston organizations and co-founder of Boston's ad agency Hill Holliday. Senator Elizabeth Warren also spoke recounting her own amazing journey from humble beginnings to the United Senates Senate as an example of the incredible possibilities that exist for girls today. A local newswoman and Big Sister supporter, Lisa Hughes, began the event with enthusiasm. Thoughtfully orchestrating the event from the background was Big Sister's chief executive officer, Deborah Re, and her team. Karen Kaplan received the Big Sister's "Believe in Girls" award, and shared her story of the encouragement and efforts that led to her success as she rose from receptionist to Hill Holliday's CEO. She acknowledged the role that Jack Connors played in her success with reference to the fact that kindness, care, support, and believing in yourself are key factors in the success of any individual and organization.

In all, the night left me with the following ideas--ideas that will impact my work as an educator:
  • Commitment to your work matters, and in the end that is what you will take away.  Do you do your best work each day? 
  • Humor and charm lighten and brighten events.
  • Story brings people together and inspires.
  • Contribution to positive endeavor beyond your own home, work, and family are important. Choose where you will contribute that effort and make it count.
  • There's a big world of opportunity out there; make sure that your students are aware of this world, and know that they can contribute to, engage, and lead in this world. 
  • The possibilities are extraordinary if you're willing to believe.
  • How do we serve each child with the thought: "Every Child, a Masterpiece."
  • We need to stop now and then to celebrate, and if you have the chance to celebrate choose a magnificent location if possible.
What events outside of your school and family life impact the work you do each day as an educator?  How do you reach out beyond the school walls to develop your teaching/learning repertoire so that you bring a broader, deeper experience to the students you teach?  Do you make the time to celebrate positive endeavor, action, and results with others? These are questions I want to ponder more as I continue on the education road.