Every once in a while someone—an individual or an organization—catches the Project Life “bug”.
For those of us who have been living and breathing the program for years, it is a pleasant surprise to find that someone else “gets” the program on a deeper level. Grasping the meaning of the program can cause people to make life-changing decisions.
Project Life has been built over the years by a large family of volunteers. They act as hosts, teachers, drivers, coaches, tour guides, shoulders to cry on, and yes, even cooks and bottle washers. Many volunteers who were with us at our beginnings in 1997 have passed their sense of commitment and dedication down to their own children, who are forming a renewed base of supporters in our local community.
The common thread among us all is that we realize that being involved with the orphans helps us as much as it helps them. We have come to see that the process of working with these children can transform our own lives.
In spring 2013 we were delighted to welcome The Voice Gavel Club into the Project Life fold. This remarkable group of high school students is not from our region. They hail from the Toronto area. Last year they devoted their Humanitarian Leadership activities to raising funds for Project Life at a classy, action-packed, and very articulately presented gala covered in last April’s blog posting.
But it wasn’t until last month, when15 Gavel Club members and their chaperones made the trip from north of Toronto to our program center in western New York, that the “aha!” moment actually occurred. They had decided to organize a Gala Event for us once again this April. The group of affluent young people could have spent the day shopping at the mall or hanging out with their friends. Instead, they visited Project Life to gain inspiration in their fundraising efforts. By the end of that day their thoughts and feelings about the program had been transformed into deeper personal commitment.
They shared their reflections at the next Gavel Club meeting. Some were inspired to change their own lives. One young man said he was moved to try to taste the suffering of war orphans by sleeping on the floor instead of in his comfortable bed. A young woman expressed her shame at being an “entitled” member of her own family, who shower her with gifts and special foods. Now she hopes to spend more time working on behalf of those in need.
Others were inspired to speak of what Gavel Club members could do as a group. One young woman saw how she could apply what she had learned about the lives of war orphans in Project Life directly to the goal of presenting a successful event. She speaks movingly of how she came to believe that each member “Must be like a falcon. We must soar farther.”
The Voice is a public speaking club, and their very affecting and heartfelt speeches which reflect on the visit were captured on video. Their own pictures and words say it best.
Please take a few moments to listen and watch at: http://www.thevoicegavelclub.com/#!reflection-project-life/c1lj3.
With such beautiful feelings and images echoing in my thoughts, I urge all who read this to help make this year’s Gala event a truly soaring success. Please help the Gavel Club falcons fly higher and farther by ordering tickets at http://www.thevoicegavelclub.com/
If you can’t make it on Saturday, April 26, please make a donation or offer your support via this website.
Deborah Wilson, Deputy Director
Project Life War Orphans