Making A Difference
As a community, we are truly blessed with the compassionate and caring nature of the individuals who reside here. Attending the Leadership Conference for Nonprofit organizations sponsored by the T.L.L.Temple Foundation in collaboration with the Bush School for Non-Profits At Texas A&M, I was humbled to be in the presence of individuals who work to assure needs are met and dignity maintained for those among us who are in need. It was daunting to think that many of these organizations make the difference in lives in the most significant way providing basic needs such as food, shelter, medical care, pathways to a better future, as well as support and care for the end of life. As an administrator of a small private school, I began to feel fairly insignificant among those who make such a huge difference in the lives of others.
Sharing a conference session with teams from Meals on Wheels, CISC, The Mosaic Center, Love INC and other honorable non-profit leaders, I began to wonder what my role was to be part of this distinguished group seeking to learn how to better serve the needs within our community.
As far as involvement in serving others, our students are involved in many service projects, raising money for the community food drive, Christmas Child shoebox projects, collecting canned goods and toys during the holidays and packing backpacks weekly for those children who may not have food over the weekend. We are involved in doing our small part to make that big difference in the lives of others, but what we do is a choice, something extra, above and beyond the school day. We consider it as character building and a way to learn to have empathy for others. I did not recognize that our efforts in any way could equal the impact these organizations have in our community
The next week, I attended the Southwestern Association of Episcopal Schools Biennial Conference in Houston. St. Cyprian’s Episcopal School was honored to receive the Ken Bastian Award for Outstanding Community Service from this group of 224 Episcopal schools throughout Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas. While listening to the director of SAES, the Rev. David Madison, D.Min. ,describe our students’ service accomplishments within the community I then came to understand my role in joining the group of community supporters a few weeks prior.
At St. Cyprian’s Episcopal School, we make a priority of service and the value in seeking ways to improve the lives of others in our community. We are teaching the next generation who will be future participants in these meaningful organizations. They will be board members, directors, donors and organizers giving time, effort, and funding to these worthy community groups.They will volunteer, offer a listening ear, a smile, or a kind word. Teaching children the power of caring with action added to change circumstances, results in adults who make differences in their communities, wherever that community may one day be.
The keynote speaker for this SAES conference was noted author and University of Houston professor Brene Brown. She ended her presentation with all of the attendees standing together in a hotel ballroom singing together the chorus of Townes Van Zandt’s song, If I Come to You.
The words we sang were: If I needed you, would you come to me? Would you come to me if I needed you? The answering lyrics were: I would come to you if you needed me. If you needed me, I would come to you. These are words a room filled with educators sang with tears streaming down our faces. Remembering care shown that did change lives, opportunities for care that was missed, and most importantly the importance that future generations understand the importance of care for neighbors, peers, colleagues and humanity. A community of care found in the form of organizations reaching out for the hands reaching up. In the words of Anthony J. D’ Angelo, Without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of community.
Dr. Sherry Durham
SCES Head of School