Fruits of my labor

As Sr. Event Manager for Odyssey I have the pleasure of being on the inside track and planning the Life Cycle’s Programs, as well as other programs within the company. I find it hard to believe sometimes that it is a job. I never thought a job would give me to opportunity to change children’s lives, thousands of children’s lives.
One of my most memorable “life changing” experiences took place last year. We were doing a roll out with a large company. It involved planning programs that were going on simultaneously, stretching from California all the way to Florida. There is no describing the hours and hours of work that went into planning these programs. On the last day in Chicago, exhausted and more emotional then ever, my life changed.
These children were from Southside Chicago. If you have never heard of Southside, it is not surprising. They see things everyday that most people never experience. They come from single parent families, if they have a parent at all. Discipline is not a part of most of their lives.
There was one particular teenage girl that stood out that day. She had attitude. The way that she treated one of the Boys and Girls club directors was inappropriate. Oddly, I was nervous to tell this 11 year old girl that she was out of line. By reprimanding her it made her respect me. She went on to explain how she did not like this director and that she did not have to listen to her. After going back and forth she agreed that she would just not speak to her.
I watched this child’s attitude change right in front of my eyes. The moment the doors opened and she realized she was getting a bike, not just a bike but an opportunity, an experience, a moment to feel special, my life changed. It made truly realize how lucky I am and how to be better with the children I work with. She came up to me with tears in her eyes and gave me this immense hug. She apologized to me, the exchange that we had has pushed me to work so hard for these kids. It is amazing what a bike can do.