Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What Doesn't Kill You

This foundation is actually going to kill me. As in if I drop dead at 21, somebody tell the authorities what happened.

Ok, I was being melodramatic, but now I’m being serious:

The things that we care about most are the things that tear us apart.
This foundation is the most important thing I’ve ever done. I care about Students of Success – or more accurately the people involved with it – more than anything else I’ve ever been committed to. Starting a non-profit may not ever have been my plan, but I’m married to this cause. I jumped into this role knowing that it will quite possibly be lifelong. I am humbled and grateful to have the opportunity to help take care of the people who have taken care of me so selflessly from the first day they met me.

I’m still trying to find my stride in my role as a non-profit founder though. It still feels like a pair of shoes that are too big, and I’m walking in territory that is completely unfamiliar. Representing this foundation sometimes requires me to be someone I am not... to act all grown-up and emotionally detached and in control, when most of the time I am actually stressed and so, so terribly unsure of what to do. And I am anything but emotionally detached; every part of me is invested in these people and this community.

Sometimes I wish that wasn’t the case. It means that setbacks hit me like a sledgehammer. I have trouble staying objective. Trouble viewing challenges with the proper perspective. I have always felt out of my depth in this role, and the waters just keep getting deeper.
I am not trying to whine. I am not trying to be a pessimist. I am trying to portray this experience accurately. And to be accurate – for all its wonderful victories and moments of joy, my decision to take on this foundation routinely tears me apart.

I found out today we missed the deadline for Global Giving’s open challenge. Which means we won’t be able to participate until March. Which means we unexpectedly can’t fundraise for the next four months.

As the founder of Students of Success Foundation, I would say that we will still be working on multiple projects and preparing for the point when we can start actively working towards the $5,000 goal we need to reach to earn a permanent place on the Global Giving website.

As Katherine Niemann, college student and confessional blogger, I want to say that I am discouraged and helpless and beyond frustrated. Perhaps a four month delay isn’t a big deal in the big picture, but today – right now – it certainly feels like a big deal. I feel overwhelmed trying to be a student and an employee and a board member of a start-up organization. Yet even when I juggle all those roles successfully, here I am with my hands tied for the next four months nonetheless.

People often ask me if I ever feel like I gave up my chance to have a typical college experience to be involved in the foundation.
It would be a lie to say I’ve never regretted my decision, however briefly.
But at the end of the day… even an extremely difficult day like this one… I imagine what life would look life right now if I’d said no. 
What if I’d told Worfa to run SISCO independently, and returned to life as a college student without this responsibility?
Perhaps I’d cry less. Metaphorically bang my head against walls less often. Literally throw pillows against walls less often. Use pillows for sleeping more often. Have more free time. Maybe tests and parties would seem more important.
Maybe I wish all those things were the case sometimes. Maybe there are moments I give in to feeling sorry for myself and wish someone else had been called on to do this. No- definitely there are those moments.
But if I could go back and make that decision again – knowing what life would look like after I said yes – my answer would be the same.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

One More Step

I am pleased to announce that as of October 8th, 2013, Students of Success Foundation is a fully registered non-profit organization with the Ghanaian government!

Although it will still be some time before we are fully operational and ready to start fundraising, we have reached a major milestone.

Feel free to check out what I've been working on (when I should be doing homework...) :