Monday, February 24, 2014

4 days, 5 hours, 19 minutes and 24 seconds

I just received the news that our project (the posting for our foundation) has been pre-approved for Global Giving!!!

In other words, we're on a website I didn't make myself!

Becoming a non-profit was an unbelievably enormous and exciting step. I will never forget the feeling of holding our first set of certificates the day Karina and I flew home from Ghana, or how it felt to receive Daniel's emailed photograph of the final certificate that signaled our full certification with the Ghanaian government.

Being accepted to compete in Global Giving's Open Challenge was another monumental landmark for us. I got together as many friends as I could on such short notice (about 7...) when I received the email and we popped a bottle of champagne to celebrate that victory.

And there have been a thousand other thrilling moments in between. Opening our bank account... Creating our website... Planning our Evening For Africa event in just two short weeks...

But this.
Oh this.

This makes all of that other stuff real. THIS represents everything we've worked for over the past 7 1/2 months. Joining Global Giving, earning the ability to fundraise in the US and give our foundation a real chance to do some good in this world... that is everything.

I didn't expect this moment to be quite so exciting, but I find myself ecstatic. I can't stop staring at our Global Giving page and watching the clock that is counting down to midnight on Saturday, when the Open Challenge officially begins and we can start accepting donations for the first time.
This is really happening. All of the pain and the challenges and the setbacks and the effort and the agony of not knowing how things would work out is paying off.
I feel like I've been handed the keys to the kingdom and I just can't stop grinning ear to ear. None of my roommates were home when I found out, which is problematic because squealing and jumping is best done with company. But instead I took advantage of the empty house to blast happy music and throw myself a dance party. Every time I paused to catch my breath, I remembered what this means and the journey it took to get here, and got the itch to dance to some more. I ended up jumping around my room for a good 45 minutes before my joy was exhausted enough to sit down.

So check out our page and think of us at midnight on Saturday!

4 days, 5 hours, 19 minutes and 24 seconds from now!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

200 Characters or Less

I'm putting in some late-night effort to get the foundation ready to be posted on Global Giving. (*Coughcough* the Open Challenge starts in less than 2 weeks!) I have to do things like describe our entire mission - compellingly - in 200 characters or less. State the problem, our solution and the long-term impacts of our work, each in 200 characters or less. Pick pictures and create captions that will be informative and speak to people's soft sides. I feel like I'm trying to explain the most monumentally important part of my life through a series of tweets. Hmmm, how to sum up the impact we're trying to make on the lives of hundreds of people in less words than I would use to describe what I made for dinner...
I'm being snarky; I'm actually enjoying the challenge of trying to frame the foundation in a marketable way. And of course I'm BEYOND excited for us to be officially posted to the Global Giving website. Anticipation of the moment I see that is fueling this late-night rally.

But as I struggle to shrink our mission into bite-sized pieces, this... I don't even have the word for it... little ache... keeps resurfacing that nothing I could ever write could ever be eloquent or professional or effective enough to convey just how much I care about what it is I'm describing.
I guess it's something I mention a lot, but it's something that never fails to startle me when I'm acting as founder of Students of Success and not just regular me. I mean, people hear my pitch and most of them want to help, they really understand? What words convince people, "This is my second home. This is my family, my community I'm asking you to help" ? I think regular me can portray that pretty well with all my ridiculous jumping and squealing and raving, but can founder me manage to do it when I'm wearing my dress pants and politely shaking hands?
Well, appropriately as this nagging thought was tumbling around, "Hey Brother" by Aviici started playing on my Itunes. It's already a favorite of mine, and some of the lyrics hit home tonight: "What if I'm far from home? Oh brother, I will hear you call. What if I lose it all? Oh sister, I will help you out. Oh if the sky comes falling down for you, there's nothing in this world I wouldn't do."
Such simple words and yet they sum up so beautifully how I feel about my Ghanaian family.
Hmm....and it's just about 200 characters....