I hate getting dressed up. No, actually, that’s not entirely true. I enjoy getting dressed up once in a while, if I’m with friends and we’re playing fun dance music or if I’m being fancy-pants with Andy, which is rare. I like getting dressed up, looking in the mirror like, whoa, what happened to you??! And then I spend the entire time fantasizing about sweatpants and flip flops.
Last night, I got a little fancypants – with some Reset homies and the requisite dance music – for our Reset Benefit, our organization’s annual fundraising event. And, the night was so special that I did not once take off my heels or even think about sweats.
It was a big night for Reset. Our Benefit happened at the same time as the event where Google announced the award winners of the Google Impact Challenge. We were one of 10 finalists in the running for $500,000 to be determined by public vote. At the end of the evening, the announcement that we were one of the top four winners brought forth a standing cheer from the entire room – there may or may not have been some jumping around and screaming. Inasmuch as jumping around is possible in heels, anyways.
I am overwhelmed with tremendous gratitude. I am amazed that people are willing to so publically and generously support an organization that is little more than a visionary idea and a small team of passionate individuals. It tells me that our vision and work is needed now. We need to reimagine justice, education, and the systems and mindsets that maintain an inhumane and oppressive status quo. I’m humbled by the faith others have placed in us. Hidden in this overwhelming gratitude is anger at a system that forces schools and organizations working to improve the human condition to depend on the charity of others to function and survive, while more often than not, wealth and resources go to the individuals and institutions that perpetuate or oppress. But that is a matter for another time.
I am grateful for friends and family who took up the torch over the last few weeks, whether they understood our work or not, and posted, tweeted, shared and voted. I’m still pleasantly shocked by the woman who approached me and my co-worker and said, “Hi, I wanted to introduce myself to you…I recognize you two from your pictures on your website.” I wanted to call my mom and yell, “Hey mom! I’m someone!”
I am blessed to work with the people on my team. We have been traveling through a dense fog on an unpaved, muddy road littered with potholes big enough to swallow hippopotamus. There have been obstacles and uncertainty enough for the team to have a batch of matching ulcers, white hairs and bald spots. And yet, we continue to grow stronger, inspire, support, forgive, love and challenge each other. I am awed by the compassion, vulnerability, sheer talent, thoughtfulness and dedication of my co-workers and feel lucky to be able to learn from such incredible people.
Also, we clean up pretty good too.
I’m grateful I have the opportunity to work with amazing students and cannot wait to meet the students who will come to us in early January. Darrell, a young man of inspiring perseverance and insight and last night’s student speaker, said:
I’d like to thank Reset for forcing me to be a leader when I rather not speak, helping me fill so many holes in my cisterns and giving me the chance to use the potential that would have otherwise been pouring out my side.
Most importantly , I’d like to thank Reset for helping me live when I felt I was only being kept alive.
And, I want him to know that I feel exactly the same way about him.
Full of gratitude and love, I feel reinvigorated to head back to the trenches again.