Jodie had been abandoned by her parents and moved through the foster care system for five years before she was adopted by loving parents. She was very bright and known as the teacher’s aide throughout elementary school. Jodie helped other children with subjects they didn’t understand. She was a calming influence when another child was upset. During playground time, she stayed in the room and read a book or helped straighten desks. Jodie was shy but had a remarkable ability to relate to others when needed.
In middle and high school, she became involved with volunteering. She especially enjoyed working with nursing homes since she never knew her grandparents. In virtually every room in the nursing home throughout the city, there were pictures from Jodie on the walls.
With Jodie’s background in STEM fields, she also became an ambassador to get girls to think about STEM majors in college. With all of Jodie’s volunteering, she didn’t spend much time with normal high school activities. She didn’t even turn in her service hours for special recognition at graduation. She just didn’t feel good about being recognized for being helpful. But when students selected students for superlatives, Jodie was the unanimous selection for Most Inspiring.
As Jodie moved on into her career, she continued her volunteering. Once she was married, she became the “go-to” foster parent in the community. She adopted three siblings to go along with her two children. Jodie and her husband and five children each had special interests in with their volunteering.
At work, Jodie became a quiet leader. She was never comfortable being in the spotlight nor taking credit where she well deserved it. What was ironic was that Jodie became known as the soul of the organization. Everyone turned to her for advice on what to do in tough situations – personal and business. They could be assured that Jodie would advise them on the right thing to do even when it may not be the easiest or most comfortable thing to do.
Throughout her years, Jodie became an inspiration to all who knew her or knew of her. That was something she was never comfortable with. “How can you be inspiring when I’ve hardly ever given a speech or been in a high level position?” she thought. For Jodie, inspiration was just who she was.
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“It’s a journey. No one is ahead of you or behind you. You are not more advanced or less enlightened. You are exactly where you need to be. It’s not a contest. It’s life. We are all teachers and we are all students.” –Anonymous