In every epic story the hero(s) go through trials where they don’t always win. In fact in most cases they fail so horribly that the next time they try there is no possible way they could do any worse. Being a new member to AmeriCorps is like being knocked out 1st round of a prize fight, kicking the ball in your own goal in overtime, or forgetting the ‘p’ in pterodactyl during the national spelling bee. You’ve worked hard to get accepted into AmeriCorps, they wouldn’t have wanted you if you hadn’t, but not being to find a winter coat warm enough for a 12 year old boy whose mom doesn’t have a car, job, or phone… is just harder. So now you need to be better.
[Insert your own movie montage here]
2 ½ months later, you’re ready. You’ve been trained, you’ve learned, you’ve made so many little mistakes along the way that now you know exactly what not to do. YOU are ready, for the December 1st Smith Silent Auction Ski Trip fundraiser! Months have been spent planning, pan handling for donations, and writing “Thank You” cards. You’ve kept in contact with the directors of the Community Center, your location of choice for the event, and all the baskets up for auction are picture perfect. Nothing can stop you now.
Except maybe the 8 inches of snow that fell overnight and the Community Center’s decision to cancel their meeting and notify everyone but you. This now leaves you, your team, your boss, and over $1,000 worth of donated items in the car, in the cold, for hours while you wait outside of a completely dark and securely locked Community Center. Now at this point you still have options: you can think very hateful things at the Community Center leaders and hope there is such a thing as karma, forget this silly idea of “engaging the community” go home, post everything to ebay, hope for the best and call it a day, or throw a brick through the window (luckily none were readily available at the time).
¿¿¿¿¿Whatever are our heroes to do????
Fast Forward 2 weeks later to the December 15th Smith Silent Auction Ski Trip fundraiser; same place same time. What grew out of your disaster is a great success for community members to see how good it feels to help out and be engaged, for at risk students who will now be able to go to Breckenridge Mountain, and for you and your team who are basking greedily in the long overdue win.
Moral of the story: more and more bad things can always happen, but if you stay positive and push harder when you’re feeling torn down 40 fifth graders growing up in an environment of hunger and poverty, who beat the odds and have high attendance and behavior reports will get the chance to go to the mountains, some of them for the first time, and enjoy a day bundled up, falling down a million times, and snoring on the bus ride home.