By Wesley Siebert
Mass Mutual Financial Group, 2015 Make/Happen Attendee
It’s about raising your hand as high as you can and saying, “I’m in.” Despite the busyness of life, the constraints of our comfort zones or the fear of failure. I’m in. I’m committed to transforming a bold idea into a thriving reality – because even if I can’t change the world, I can change the lives of people in it.
That’s why I attended Make / Happen – and why later this year, if all goes to plan, there will be a new food pantry and lunch program serving the students of the Dream School in the village of Lavavolo, Madagascar, almost 10,000 miles from here.
Let me give you a little background. It starts with the premise that if Susie McGuire is involved, I want to be involved as well. Susie believes she can make a difference – and she is. Years ago, this life-long lover of plants, animals and the environment launched a group called Conservation Fusion, a collaborative educational effort that, last year, founded the Dream School in Lavavolo. Enrollment now stands at almost 100 students.
At the time of last year’s inaugural Make / Happen, Susie and I had been talking about starting a second school.
Attending Make / Happen – being told “Don’t hold back” – only amplified my drive
to do something impactful. I left determined to not let this idea stagnate. It was too big.
Just last month, a post-product of Make / Happen came to fruition. Susie and I organized a fundraising event for Conservation Fusion at Round the Bend Steakhouse in Ashland. With the help of 54 generous attendees and some tremendous sponsors, our “Dream BIG” dinner raised almost $9,000, far exceeding our expectations.
Our plans for the money have evolved. Instead of building that second school right now, we realized we need to address a more pressing need: Ensuring Dream School’s current students have enough food to eat. So, thanks to the fundraiser, we’ll have enough money to begin building that food pantry this summer. It should be done – and ready for us to open – by the time Susie and I visit the village in late fall. How amazing is that?
Make / Happen promises to help turn an intention into a plan of action. So many times, we go to seminars and we’re given professional advice – and then our notes get lost and we do nothing with the experience.Make / Happen is designed to help us springboard to the next step.
What are you passionate about? Don’t hold back.
You can make a difference – big or small.
Just be willing to spend a day at this year’s session, raise your hand as high as you can – and let the world know you are in.