Allow me to open up by saying that I missed you guys terribly. TSF Family is as near and dear to me as my writing. The toughest time was during the NFL Playoffs and Super Bowl, it was hard to even go to the site. I felt like I had let a multitude of people down including the one person that gave me the opportunity to shine. I wish there was some warning that I could’ve given prior to my hiatus, but when the Man Upstairs calls an audible in your life; you’d better be prepared to run the hot route.
December 5, 2008:
Things seemed pretty normal at my day job (I always considered TSF a 24-hour gig because of my commitment to its cause). Although rumors were circulating about a possible downsizing, I never paid much attention until I got the call to meet with the CEO that afternoon. “We regret to inform you that today will be your last day with us.” he continued, “Your termination is not performance based, it’s just that you are the least experienced in your department.”
In other words, “Last hired, first fired.”
My immediate thoughts went to my son and the mortgage, I was pretty much done my holiday shopping for him so that wasn’t an issue but the mortgage could be if things didn’t change in a hurry. Through it all, I kept saying to myself, “This is happening for a reason.”
Three weeks earlier, I applied for a Project Director position overseeing youth programs for my State Representative. The job seemed ideal since I had a good bit of experience with the youth in my old neighborhood. They seemed very impressed with my background and experience but there was a serious conflict with my current job. Although the position was part-time and the salary was good I was unable to take the position and it was filled.
At least that’s what I was told.
Unbeknownst to me a former co-worker was a secretary in the Rep’s office and heard my name bouncing around the office. Upon inquiring, she proceeded to tell them how much of an asset I would be to the program and that I should be given a chance.
December 17, 2008
I get a call from the Rep’s counsel asking if I was still interested in the position, so we set up an interview with the Rep and things go great. I explained my passion for giving our youth the best opportunities to empower themselves and how I felt I was in a position to make that happen.
Know all we had to do was iron out one minor detail…salary.
As I was presented the budget for the program, I noticed that my salary was nearly double what I was originally told. I wanted to make sure things wouldn’t come back to bite me later. After questioning the salary, I was told that the budgeted version was correct.
My first event was a Christmas party that the Rep gives each year to the children in his district. After eating lunch and some other activities they get a visit from Santa before the day wraps up. It was there that I came to the realization that I may want to enter the political arena on a smaller scale for now.
Part of my job is to visit schools, I’ve spoken to many principals and teachers. Surprisingly, the biggest problem facing many students in the inner-city is nutrition. Many of these kids come from homes where they have to fend for themselves and their siblings and sometimes breakfast isn’t an option.
One startling statistic is the State of Pennsylvania’s plans to build 6 prisons at $600 million a piece. The flip side to that is that there are plans to cut education costs, close schools, and trim after school programs. For this to happen in the United States in the 21st century is unacceptable.
As months have passed, the job has become more demanding and I realize more often than not, I’m in a position to make an impact, I don’t say make a difference, because that comes when you begin to see results. In the meantime, I’ll continue to put my arms around the programs and the children and families that seek to benefit from it. I’ve always been taught to give back, more importantly, I’ve always WANTED to give back.
Thanks to Mizzo for being an ear through high and low, he left me a message that touched me to the point where I still have it and listen to it. AXG and I were just getting to know one another. There is something special about him and his work, I hope that it gets noticed on a larger scale. I’m glad to see that the TSF enrollment has increased and I’m positive that it will continue. Keep those torches lit.
With that being said, dust mine off..