Our home is vibrant as it is complex, which is why collaboration is necessary to get our neighborhoods ready for just about anything. The Pulse Nightclub Shooting and 2017 Hurricanes brought communities together like never before, but disjointed funding efforts and duplicated services made it hard to effectively align community needs with assets. A Gift For Teaching moved past its “business as usual” to elevate how the educationally-disadvantaged are supported and joined a growing coalition of socially-driven organizations and businesses, service-providing not-for-profits, and government agencies to coordinate grassroots-informed, regionally-strategized action plans that will quickly activate disaster restoration, convene philanthropic cooperation, and get our region back up to speed in any situation.
Following the ideas of Collective Impact, purposeful collaboration can transform the way human services tackle some of the other extremely complex challenges in our region. Rapidly growing homelessness tied to low wages and an affordable housing crisis, health disparities tied to economic inequities and racial biases, and devastatingly-high rates of human trafficking underscore that Central Florida’s greatest problems are far worse than traffic on I-4. Collective impact provides hope to communities that have been swamped with philanthropic dollars yet seen little change or neighborhoods that have accepted outside support and received emigration-forcing gentrification. If the social sector can move towards organizational alignment (rather than programmatic partnerships) and focus on ultimate outcomes (for example: end food-insecurity rather than hunger), then our everyday lives will be dramatically transformed for the better. However, this requires immense change by the leaders.
One unique thing about Crave is that it’s already full of inspired and activated individuals. The need isn’t to show its participants the possibilities to find their Ikigai because they already have the idea—they see the light at the end of the tunnel. The challenge is navigating the labyrinth. The other unique part about Crave is that is transcends leadership and skill development to also incorporate the person and their spiritual motivations as the driving powers of the operation. Unveiling the internal, hidden, and powerful forces that guide our raison d’être sets us free to see our missions in a more universal truth that is grounded by what makes us who we are. Leveraging my strengths in connecting seemingly-disparate people and ideas, learning everything I can about the world, ideating new ways to solve complex challenges, arranging processes into a better flow, and an admiration for mental exercises and intellectual pursuits will augment my ability to bring a community together and target its assets towards greater impact. Let’s work together, Central Florida—strategically, meaningfully, and sustainably.
What an adventure Crave has been over the last month! The initial group interview was the perfect ice breaker. We were asked simple, humorous questions like, “Dog or cat?” which led into deeper inquiries such as, “If you were stranded on a deserted island, would you make it, and if so, how long?” We also identified our ‘word’ after a little prayer, meditation and learning about the book One Word That Will Change Your Life. The overnight retreat followed with a group brainstorming session where ideas flooded the room defining Crave’s mission. The Enneagram workshop (AMAZING) and dinner followed. At dinner, we broke bread with the board members and met our mentors. We each received a copy the book One Word That Will Change Your Life and a beautiful wooden plaque with our words inscribed on the front. The next morning we did an activity that explored our dreams/visions and identified where each was coming from; the heart, the head, the gut, etc. We also received our copies of The Wayfinder Journal for Journeying and our first assignment. The next meeting took place at the quaint Little Red House. Here we did an activity focusing on what we are most proud of from our past and what we intend to do with our future. This was a powerful experience because it uncovered the delicate balance between self love and loving others. It also allowed us to take our personal assets and combine them to describe what we want Crave to become. We did some weeding out in the garden and meditated on what areas of our personal lives needs pruning. Most recently, we met at the Edyth Bush Institute to discuss funding and networking.We met experts in the field such as Margaret Linnane, Karen Revels and Ashley Vann. We learned a great deal about telling our stories, giving our case for support and how to network when it comes to nonprofit and philanthropic funding.
The Crave journey over the past month has touched both my personal and work life in remarkable ways! The word I chose, ‘Surrender’, has been moving me ever since I chose it. I have been experiencing moments of sinking into situations and letting the story unfold without getting in the way. The Enneagram workshop facilitated another way of looking at myself and how I tick. It began the process of thinking outside the box as I began to see how my greatest weaknesses could be seen as my greatest strengths and vice versa. Reading One Word That Will Change Your Life showed how setting an intention and meditating on it daily really works! Picking just one word and keeping it simple is so helpful. I personally have a habit of setting the bar too high and putting too many things on my to-do list, which often sets me up to fail or feel overwhelmed. Having one word as an overlying theme for them is a great form meditation which I have transferred over to my surf school. I have the students focus on one thing they really want to work on for that lesson or that week. The “Why Section” of The Wayfinders Journal has really allowed me to dig deep into who I am and where I am heading. The quote at the beginning of The Wayfinders Journal says it all: “Be your compass. Make a map. Trust your feet to find your path. There’s only one person who can show you the way.” This book has really realigned me with trusting my inner guidance and encouraging my students to do the same. Meeting with Margaret, Karen, and Ashley at the Edyth Bush Institute really motivated me work on my case for support and think about how I will tell my story. I am not a nonprofit yet, just a former surfer and classroom teacher who now runs a surf school that facilitates learning environment for children at the beach. I want to make the world a better place one wave at a time. Meeting with the leaders in networking and fundraising at the Edyth Bush Institute inspired and motivated me. It broadened my scope and I have a bigger vision now. I want to help more children with less opportunities to get to the water. I want to facilitate more therapeutic, learning environments for more children though surfing. I hope this has given you a peek into what October has held for Crave and how it is actively shaping me and my business.