Friday the 13th seems like an ominous day to have my first meeting with my Foundation Group mentor, but it is also World Kindness Day! The world could use a little kindness these days.
The conversation was enlightening, it got me back to those pieces I still need to put in place. A big one is process guides. A written pathway into becoming a part of the Community House. It will help people orient and get us all on the same page. I better have some of those ready for our first meeting on November 23rd.
Also we talked about finances. Uugh. A tough subject for me, as I have had my own personal battles with money. I have often equated money with greed, and so it is a big shift for me to start to realize money can just as easily be associated with generosity, kindness and even personal empowerment.
One thing I learned was that if you are an operating foundation you must spend at least 85% of your donated funds towards operations. Well, I don't think that will be a problem. I am sure we will use 100% and then some. I was wondering what else you might do with donations than use them for the project? The big non-operating foundations apparently can hold onto their money, they only need to distribute 5%, which seems awfully low. Or maybe I heard him wrong. Anyway, I am not a big non-operating foundation, I am a small operating foundation. And so 85% it is.
Wednesday was big. We closed on the houses and then it was time to celebrate. They showed up for pumpkin painting and S'mores. It was a good time.
Then on Friday I presented the model of learning math I developed (Conceptual Math) to the Memphis School District City Year project. It was very exciting as I had only presented at academic conferences, to local classes or to friends and small groups of children in the neighborhood. I was very excited to see this work moving out into the world. Yet, it was stressful.
Then came Halloween, the day to open the house to the community. We had planned a haunted halloween house, and a painting party. I was feeling overwhelmed. This seemed like a lot, and I just wanted to cancel. Maybe next time, is what I was thinking. But, in my experience, there is no time like the present.
My work with schools, especially in the alternative school setting, has taught me well. Those environments are always full of chaos and unpredictability. You may have a beautiful lesson planned, and then the child comes in who just lost their brother in a gang war. Or you plan a Shakespeare festival, and the kids just want to talk about who is dating who?
Well, I found that if I say, I will do it later, that tends to be a lost opportunity. I have found that if I do even a little of what I envisioned, it opens many doors. I find that if I don't stop in my tracks, taking even the small step forward towards the idea, the results are powerful and consequences are good.
So I said to myself, "Just Do It." Whatever it may be, it will be better than nothing.
We did the painting party, met the neighbors, and then I gave out candy and a couple promo cards about the Community House Project to interested parties. I even gave out my first set of keys!
Was it a big deal? Absolutely not, and that is A-OKAY with me.