Oh what a beautiful morning,
Oh what a beautiful day!
I have a wonderful feeling
Everything's going my way!!
Some days just lift us up, don't they?
For me, this morning started fine - I wasn't too exhausted or in the bad pain from my meds (I'm keeping a daily log of my experience on prednisone in case anyone wants to read it later). I actually slept a bit last night. The weather is good, and while my bus was early, I was there in time to catch it. As a perk in the summer, my firm let's us wear jeans and leave a few hours early on Fridays (if we're in the main office and not on a client site, that is), and it's my last day unassigned for a couple of weeks. I had putzed my way through most of my random tasks between yesterday and first thing this morning, and was actually reaching the point of near-boredom (I say near because I don't want to look a gift horse in the mouth - if God felt I should have a slow day at work, who am I to question Him). Ah, but not for long:)
Remember my previous one or two posts about networking for UII? Yeah I had another one of those days. It just fell in my lap this time, I swear! Fits right in with my word of the week though, 'Providence'. Providence has just been that random word that pops into my head a good dozen times or more over the span of a few days, which I guess is my subconscious' way of saying "hey stupid, these things are RELATED, they have a PURPOSE". But anyway, before I get too side tracked....
So here I was, purging old emails, and I found one that reminded me to RSVP for a local event. I'm sure most of you are familiar with Light the Night, which is the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's "signature fundraising walk event". Well, my step-father-in-law has just reached a stage of full remission from his battle with Lymphoma, and has been involved with LtN for a few years at least. Having wised up to the significance of walking with someone since my experience at the SSF Walkabout, my husband and I were quick to sign on when he asked us to join his team this year. In our area, the society holds a kickoff event at a Phillies game, and to qualify to attend you have to sign up, raise at least $50, and RSVP by July 1. My email reminder was to actually make the donations to our respective accounts and RSVP so we could be there, so I did. Then, I sent a quick email to the RSVP contact person to ensure our slots are reserved. Of course, for some reason, I did all this from my corporate email address...never underestimate the importance of an email signature!
Within minutes, I had a reply confirming our spots - and asking about my firm. It seems a member of our firm leadership was at a LtN event not long ago, and discussions began about developing a stronger relationship between my firm and the society. (As background, LtN is one of the many causes my firm has supported in the past, usually by having a corporate team of walkers.) The woman emailing me asked if I were interested in taking on a lead role or knew of someone else interested in the part. Now as you know, my instinct is to say "I'LL DO IT", but thankfully with age is coming a little bit of self-control, and I was able to realize that might be stretching myself a bit too thin. Oh but don't think I've stepped out of the picture...that's just not my style ;)
Anyway, I guess I'd better pick up the pace on this story. While doing a few back-and-forth messages with LtN, I also identified the firm's team leader from last year, and have confirmed with him that he is interested in taking this role again. The LtN correspondence, which had by now picked up an additional contact person, developed into the idea of having an on-site event at my office. While I'm only now in the stage of discussing it all with the team leader, I'm super psyched because our Disability Network has a few initiatives that fit perfectly with this idea. First, we are trying to reach a point where our network is involved with all relevant events supported by the firm (that's an obvious one). Second, we have been discussing how to line up a few in-office events, sometimes focused on a specific issue, which can used to build our network (reach more employees, develop our 'brand', establish ourselves in the office's culture, improve the support we can offer employees, yada yada yada). The event initially suggested by LtN could easily grow into a solid DN event! Furthermore, we are currently working on a small event related to Special Olympics (that's a WHOLE other ball of wax, by the way, I might do a separate post about it because if I add that into this one we'll be here all day), and if we can move quickly enough it would be absolutely ideal to dovetail, and begin promoting a LtN event on the day of our SpO event! Why do the work twice, come on! So that's where I see myself staying involved, trying to get that event in place.
But wait, there's more! (My mom says I sound like a bad TV infomercial.) As it turns out, those emails with LtN were revealing to me personally. I guess in verifying that the donations had been made to mine and my husband's fundraising pages, the woman realized we were connected to Mark, my husband's step-father. What I hadn't realized is that Mark is apparently more involved than the average Joe. In addition to his team, which last year raised an impressive amount with hopes for more this year (see the widget at the top left of my blog for more information), he is serving on the Executive Committee for LtN! I originally blamed my husband for not telling me, but I think it's more because Mark is just one of those very quiet people who doesn't say much about himself. Anyway, this is exciting because a) apparently a lot of these people from LtN know him because of his role, and it's always nice to be affiliated with a leader, and b) as you know, there was talk about me being involved on next year's SSF Walkabout committee, and now I have someone's brain to pick!
The grand summary, as I see it? If I can get involved with (and buddy up the people who run) some great not-for-profit projects, I'll be laying good ground for my own UII aspirations. Further, if you consider the two causes, they compliment each other quite well: LtN is a large, well-known project, from which I can pick up great existing knowledge; the SSF Walkabout is a small-but-growing cause close to my own heart, with which I can gain hands-on experience. Oh yes, I see this as a very good combination. Lastly, these opportunities hold potential (which I plan to use for all they're worth) for me to establish myself in a better way within my firm's Disability Network - allowing me to build an even better work environment for myself now, a great reputation for myself as adding value to the firm, AND even more relevant experience I can use to make UII the program I want it to be! Can anyone say 501(c)(3)?
I think, my friends, my time for preparing is winding down. I'd give myself the next year, to live out some of these steps, but then I think it might be time to consider formally launching UII. Organizations have risen much faster and from people who put far less time and effort into learning, and more into just ploughing. I think the time will have passed to "talk of many things", and the time will have come to just get it done. Of course, I'll take as many helping hands as I can get, particularly those with perhaps a legal knowledge of the process...? Hahaha:D
Oh yes, it's a beautiful day. Usually when I'm happy, I quite literally walk around whistling "Dixie" (don't ask me why, I haven't a clue), so maybe the "Oklahoma" cliche isn't so bad after all:)
P.S. - I've realized where I got this song stuck in my head. Congratulations, Blogger Mama, your post here won the game of who can get a song stuck in Jen's head without her knowing it (that's a real game in my family)!