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Who Do I Want to Be? by Olivia Blase

Who do I want to be? 

Every new season of life gives us the opportunity to decide the answer to a very simple yet important question: who do I want to be?

What do I value most? What impact do I want to leave on the world? How do I want to interact with other people? How do I want to feel? What legacy do I want to leave? Whether you are a new parent, have started a new job, moved, are going through loss and heartbreak, etc., new life situations are opportunities for us to check in with ourselves and be intentional about the people we want to be. 

Earth Day, 2020

In college I had to decide what kind of student I wanted to be. In my young adult life, I mostly questioned what kind of friend I was. Starting my first career and beyond (this journey definitely isn’t over), I was evaluating the type of employee I wanted to be. When I was a Leader in Crave III, I wrestled with my identity as a white woman, as well as my role in our world as a person who wants to use her gifts for good and justice. 

Crave III Leaders (l-r) Marquis McKenzie, Blu Bailey, Jarvis Wheeler, Olivia Blase, and Shequila Roberts

My newest adventure, living in Spain and teaching English, has forced me to address my identity as an American. This has been an especially interesting experience, because everyone has an opinion about the USA. Some people thank me for how the States intervened in World War II. Others complain to me about how we get involved in everything globally. Some gush to me how much they love the USA, and others plainly tell me that they think all Americans are stupid. 

San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Madrid

At first, all of this mixed feedback caused me to close up and try to hide my “Americanness”. I was confused about what it meant to be me in a place where everyone has an opinion about me. So instead of dealing with the question of “who do I want to be?” I clammed up and let others decide [for me] who I was to them. Let me tell you something – that didn’t work so well. I have spent so much time and energy wrestling with my identity on others’ opinions, yet I was wasting the opportunity to decide who I am going to be and what I am going to represent. 

And of course, my identity both encompasses and extends beyond being American – or being a friend, a woman, caucasian, a student, an employee. Much of who I decide to be is exemplified by being a part of the Crave family, a community that loves, embraces, empowers, and emboldens people who are curious, passionate, generous, humble, and not afraid to bust boundaries for the good of others. 

That is the kind of person I want to be. What about you?

Olivia Blase, Crave III Alum

YOU ARE A WONDER WOMAN! In 5th grade art class, the assignment was to draw a superhero comic. None chose a woman. I drew this on the whiteboard, and soon after, several of them wanted help drawing her, too. They see what we represent and don’t represent.
Tags: Blu Bailey, Crave 3, Jarvis Wheeler, Marquis McKenzie, Olivia Blase, Shequila Roberts

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CRAVE CHAMPIONS ($20,000 +)

Susan H. Marcy & Wilbur H. Marcy Trust, Winter Park FL

Dean and Jill Bosco and Family, Orlando FL

Davidson Family Foundation, San Jose CA

Bill Walker and Rev. Debbie McLeod, Winter Park, FL

 

CRAVE CHEERLEADERS ($2,000 +)

Rev. Michele Van Son and Rob Neill and Family, Winter Park FL

Ivor and Mary Scott Singer, Winter Park FL

Future Generations Fund, Lakeland FL

Florida Conference of the UMC

Kathleen Hoffman, Clearwater FL

Phillip Henry, Orlando FL

Charlotte and Dave Nielson, Winter Park FL

Bell Bank, Winter Park FL

Angie and Jeff Winn, Windermere FL

Ashley and Brian Vann, Winter Park FL

Katrina and Mark Jackson, Winter Park FL

Jim and Liz Stroz and Family, Winter Park FL

Blaire and Josh Lynch and Family, Winter Park FL

Barbie and Steve Boyd, Winter Park FL

Laura and Miles Toshie, Winter Park FL

Carin and Oscar Anderson, Orlando FL

RJ Sonomo Family Giving Fund, Orlando FL

Catherine and Skip Matthias and Family, Winter Park FL

Debby and Jim Manuel, Orlando FL

Kristin and Ryan Morgan and Family, Winter Park FL

Janice and Randy Ellington, Maitland FL

Massey Services, Inc., Orlando FL

Bailes Family Foundation, Winter Park FL

Beth and Bill Neidlinger, Winter Park FL

and the over 200 Crave Community Builders who’ve donated $2 to $2000.00!