An organization that is devoted to bringing arts, music, and literacy programs back into the underprivileged elementary schools surrrounding the wealthier Manhattan area (like Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens...).
Money to sponsor these programs (as I'm soon realizing), doesn't grow on trees. So I help plan the events that accumulate the Benjamins they need....by researching and booking venues, contacting alcohol companies for sponsorships...you get the drill.
It's been fun! And I definitely couldn't complain when it brought me into the presence of professional skaters, a Gossip Girl, and the Yankees.
But life in the non-profit industry isn't all Disney. One moment I'm basking in the giddy glamour of going to big events and meeting the celebrities that involve themselves with the charity, and the next I'm transporting heavy equipment to and across an unconditioned Harlem school. Batting my sweaty forehead alongside the CEO of the organization puts things into their proper perspective fast, and I now understand the truth about non-profits: they have to do everything themselves. There’s no money to have a janitor or furniture mover, there isn’t even enough money to pay themselves extremely well--that would mean one less student had access to the escape and future presented by an arts and literacy education.
It's been quite the humbling experience, to say the least, getting close to kids that come from families living below the poverty line and seeing opportunity sparkle with the touch of a keyboard or violin presented to them. It's powerful. And I don't think I have ever appreciated music so much.
(Three of my favorite girls: 2nd graders Ruth, Melyanet, and Jada at their recital)
I've also never felt so small. There are so many more kids, schools, and causes that need help and attention....so I'm struggling to figure out where I can play into that equation.
P.S. Where are my eyes in this picture?? Should we play a game of Where's Waldo?