The Importance of Giving Back
When Misty Copeland attended her first ballet class at the age of 13, she was too shy to participate. The volunteer instructor took her by the hand and guided her. That began Misty’s dancing career and it all started in the gym of the San Pedro Boys & Girls Club. She quickly made up for her late start, joining the American Ballet Theatre just four years later. Now the prestigious company’s first African-American principal dancer, Misty is committed to opening the door for more girls, no matter their age or background, to discover ballet. In her recent book, The Ballerina Body, Copeland states, “Decide what you want. Declare it to the world. See yourself winning. And remember that if you are persistent as well as patient, you can get whatever you seek”. What an inspiration to young women!
Misty Copeland had a dream and she found hope at her local Boys & Girls Club. She was fortunate to find an outlet, a place to dance and call her own. I believe there are plenty of Misty Copeland’s in our community who need that extra help, the guidance to realize their dreams and make them a reality.
I am fortunate that through my professional career I have managed to find ways of giving back to my community. As the Chairperson for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware Annual Fund for Kids, I have led fundraising events to help raise money for the 40+ Clubs we have in our State. I am often pleased, and a bit relieved, when friends and family thank me for inviting them to my fundraisers. They often comment that they appreciated learning about the nonprofit and that they would like to get involved on a deeper level. At times, I think I take my awareness of social causes for granted since I have always been involved in helping my community since my teen years. This is not the case for everyone and I feel it is my responsibility to stay active and involved in helping children find their paths while inspiring others to do the same.
I am grateful that I have been able to incorporate my passion for the Clubs into my professional life. By working with my marketing department, I have successfully requested that corporate funds support my charitable interests. Certainly, some creative thinking and strategizing is required, but it is possible and the reward is seeing corporate dollars put to work for our kids.
I challenge my friends, colleagues and family members to think outside the box for ways they can help their communities. As the great Maya Angelou stated, “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Let’s find the Misty’s and create the circle of hope for them so that all kids are given the opportunities they deserve.