I had the honor of being named Citizen Laureate 2017 by the Younger Women’s Club of Louisville earlier this week. I’m incredibly touched to be recognized in this way. But what struck me more than anything during this fun night of bubbles and laughter – was the tireless dedication of Louisville’s non-profit community.
During the program Younger Women’s Club awarded 16 grants totaling $54,000 to community organizations doing incredible work. As each one accepted their grant and shared specifically how the money would be used I was moved by the common thread of connection and compassion.
From two children connecting over their shared love of oranges at summer camp for kids with cancer to encouraging young refugee women to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams with business support and training. Making houses more efficient for the elderly or offering compassionate end of life care to people who have no where to live. Realizing you aren’t the only kid with an incarcerated parent, providing a safe haven for victims of domestic violence or delivering meals to elderly. Each of these organizations provides very different services to a wide range of people. The common thread… connection. Building bridges, showing support and love, finding common ground and just lending a hand to help people face the challenge before them. No judgement. Just love.
I was both impressed by the hard work of these organizations and saddened that so many problems persist in our community. Reminded that as our family enjoys popsicles by the pool or a dinner out on a whim… not far away is a family who would have lost their home because of an outstanding $123 bill. Thankfully there is a nonprofit organization in town that came along side them and got them back on their feet.
Connection is what fuels Hope Scarves too. A scarf is practical. It makes women feel more beautiful and confident as they face treatments that tear this away. But, most of all it connects each recipient to another woman who “gets it.” When I connect 1:1 with a newly diagnosed metastatic patient she is simply looking to hear from someone else who is facing this disease and living well. A connection of hope. Each story in our collection reflect a common theme of people coming alongside a person during treatment. How they couldn’t have done it alone. Through our shared stories, we find common ground. And in each connection is strength.
I am grateful for this award. But, more so, I am grateful for the reminder that connections are fuel for the soul. So much in the world right now seems to focus on violence, terror and hate. It’s beautiful to spend an evening celebrating good work and selfless acts of KINDNESS. May we continue to build bridges and connect. Thank you Louisville Younger Women’s Club and all the grant recipients for being a catalyst to make this so.
How can you make a connection today?
peace & hope,