Charley’s World – Episode Nine

When Charley met with a former classmate the next morning, the achievement of his WHY came more into focus. Sandra O’Connor was general counsel to a family foundation. The mission of the foundation was to support community-based initiatives that focused on the development of local talent.

“As I was waiting to talk with you last night, I couldn’t help but overhear everyone who wanted your help. Tell me more.” Charley shared with Sandra his story beginning with Natty and ending with his feeling of being overwhelmed.

“Charley, I’m really impressed. You’ve done the smart thing by starting small and letting your efforts grow organically. We see too many grand plans that never get off the ground. But you’ve already plowed the ground and proven some success. What can our foundation do to help?”

Charley was taken aback. He had never even imagined that he could get support for his efforts to make learning a joy for his community. “One thing that I’ve thought about is that I need space to provide extra learning opportunities for our children. I’ve used my home for Natty and Marco. There is a real interest in setting up something similar for other children. I think I can find adults to help me, but I just don’t have space.”

“Let’s start there. The building where I went to middle school is vacant. It even has a gym that you could use for playing. Put your ideas on paper and I’m sure the foundation can acquire that property.”

Charley didn’t take long to put his ideas together and get them to Sandra. He was also able to follow-up with the phone calls after the Thanksgiving program. He was able to recruit 3 literacy volunteers and 2 math volunteers. He had a growing list of children from parents. He was ready to go.

By the beginning of the new year, access to the building had been acquired. Connections were made between volunteers and children. Everything seemed to be in place, but Charley had forgotten one thing…

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“For change to happen in any community, the initiative must have come from the individual.” – Dalai Lama

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