Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Week 14: Being Seen

We are at 482,000 pennies today (or $4,820.).  So close to the half million mark and it feels great!!

 Here is your inspiration for week 14, my friends:

" Last week I received an award from Impact Silver Spring and as I walked up to the podium I was nervous.  I mean very nervous.  I walked up carefully, not wanting to trip or slip as that would be so embarrassing. 

I made it up the steps and I stood in the back as my friend Jeffrey Slavin introduced my friend Kimberly Rattley who went on to say why she nominated me for this award.  As she was reading, I could feel the eyes of everyone looking at her and then looking at me.  I remember her saying, "this man will take time out of his day and stop and talk to you and he really listens."  I looked down, then slowly looked up and out at everyone and I could feel my eyes watering up.  I looked down again.  Kimberly finished her reading and she and Jeffrey presented me with the award. The photographer took our picture and then it was my turn to come up to the microphone. 

I finally took a look out at the crowd.  I could not believe what I saw.  So many people out there.  My wife and kids.  People from the non-profit community, county government, state government, the business community.  So many people who I respected and admired.  People whose work I strive to emulate in my own way at Pyramid.  I looked out there and they were looking back at me and smiling. 

I am fortunate enough to work in one of the most generous communities.  Everyone I know sits on a committee (sometimes two) outside of their job. It is a community of givers.  It is a community that knows that you make a living by what you make, but you make a life by what you give.  It is a community of people who believe that the best way to fight injustice is to coach a sports team, mentor a youth, teach art in the schools, start an organic farm or lead a neighborhood clean up.  It is a community of people who appreciate the simple kindness of eye contact, the honesty of a firm handshake and the compassion of a big hug.  This community of leaders was looking at me and I felt as if my feet were literally standing on their shoulders.  I tried to find something wise to say as I reached the microphone and all I could say was "thank you."

Two days later, I received an award from The Takoma Foundation.  I walked up to the podium to receive my award and remember that someone before me had made a remark about Takoma Park Youth Soccer and its motto that "everyone is a winner" and how that rubs people the wrong way. Well, I can understand that, but I have learned an important lesson coaching Takoma Park Soccer for 7 years now and it is something that I use everyday at Pyramid Atlantic.  Everyone has a role to play.  Everyone can't be good at dribbling and passing and defense, but everyone can help their team.  Some kids that I have coached are great at defense, but not terrific dribblers and some kids are great dribblers but will never pass and some kids just come out there and try their hardest despite the score week after week after week.  They just love to play.  I think about that at Pyramid and try to find a role for everyone and am grateful to the people who come out to every event because they love Pyramid and the joy that making art brings to their lives and the lives of their family and friends.  That is powerful stuff and it is how we at Pyramid fight injustice."

I hope I inspired you.  I hope you will join my ever growing community of penny philanthropists who help support art classes and workshops, internships, studios for artists and events for people of all ages at Pyramid. It is an amazing group of individuals.  It's fun and easy:

If all this penny stuff is too complicated and you just want to make a contribution, you can donate in any form of currency to Pyramid Atlantic by clicking here. I will add up your donation in pennies and include it in my campaign.

I will take all your pennies to my friends at Eagle Bank.

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