Thursday, March 19, 2009

A nurtured soul gives DW Gala

My first experience with any form of charitable donations was selling Girl Scout cookies as a child. My girlfriend and I would jump on our bikes and go door-to-door, spitting out the same lines over and over to every person that would listen. We had it all planned out, every question answered, every smile choreographed…we had our game faces on! We had a number of instances where we stood with a shut door in our faces, and an often gentle “no thank you”. In those times, it didn’t faze us; we’d jump right back on and head to the next door. Being from the neighborhood I was from it took many doors knocked on till we found our first donation. Not too many people could afford the many amounts of cookies we aspired to sell. Nonetheless we managed to be top sellers in our troop, and had plenty of extra cookies to give to those “that might buy next year,” in hopes that they truly would.

Now co-chairing a charity gala for the first time, for Diverseworks, I’m knocking on people’s doors asking for surprisingly the same thing. Instead of donations for cookies, I’m asking for donations for nurtured souls. One of the first meetings we had with the gala committee, we all sat brainstorming, learning where each of us could really contribute. One of the questions that came up was “What makes Diverseworks what it is today?” The best answer, and one that has kept ringing in my brain every time I ask someone to give of themselves for this gala, came from DeeDee: “We nurture souls.” From that moment I really felt like I was in the right place. A place, where no question is dumb, no idea is absurd, no thought is stupid, and no answer is wrong. As a dancer myself, had someone not given me the opportunity, the tools, and a venue to showcase it all in, I would not be the ‘nurtured soul’ I am today. That is exactly what I said when I confronted Rockets star player, Dikembe Mutombo to donate a “star date” with him. In talking to him about all his charitable involvements, he has helped fuel me to knock on another door.

The gang at Diverseworks has shown me the power of an opportunity. I’m so thankful for the opportunity they have given me in co-chairing my first charity event. I’ve learned how hard it is to ask someone to give in such a trying economic environment. But I’ve also learned how rewarding it is to hear stories of how Diverseworks has marked someone’s life, and the absolute sincerity in their voice in, “How can help, what can I do, how much do you need?” It has given me the chance to help give back my opportunity, and nurture another artistic soul.