By C. Ron Allen
CEO, Knights of Pythagoras Mentoring Network
Dear KOPMN friends,
When the call went out for donations for needy families that the Knights of Pythagoras Mentoring Network serve, a student at Carver Middle School in Delray Beach went home and brought four small bags of rice.
Unbeknownst to his mentor, Perry Stokes, it was basically all the food his family had.
His gesture reinforced to me the importance of sharing even when it seems like there’s nothing to give.
As we begin the holiday season, I think of a remark by American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson: “I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and new.”
Here at the Knights of Pythagoras Mentoring Network, we value our old friends, who keep us on track through our daily challenges. But, each year, we also look forward to the new faces and new friends who bring additional ideas and perspectives to help our grassroots organization continue to empower young lives to be leaders.
Especially in tough times, Thanksgiving is an opportunity to realize that we have much for which we can be thankful. This truly American holiday allows us to focus on our blessings and the freedoms we enjoy. It’s inspiring to see so many KOPMN community members and partner-groups working to help make South Florida a better place. Thanks to everyone for your contributions to the community and to KOPMN. But, even in the midst of this time of extreme downturn in the housing, financial, and business sectors, I can’t help but give thanks for the many good things about my life and observe that those around me are doing the very same thing.
Conversations with members, volunteer leadership and staff tell me that, “yeah, we’re concerned”, but “we’re hanging in there” and “we’re doing everything we can to create new opportunities out of the chaotic times we’re living in.”
So… here’s what I’m thankful for: more than 100 plus ardent supporters who are committed to our vision, an incredible staff and volunteer leadership team who challenge and enrich me every day, and my family and friends, without whom I could simply not get by.
As I do each morning, I get up and affirm that I will do something to help some child today – make a donation to my favorite charity – KOPMN, solve a problem for one of the staffers, spend at least one hour tutoring and mentoring a child to better prepare him or her to compete on a level academic playing field, advocate on behalf of our youth, or hug someone who needs it. But this holiday my rituals seems small compared to what this young man gave up.
Happy Thanksgiving to all.
PS. See you at the cook off at Lake Ida Park, Sat, Dec. 3, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and don’t forget to bring an unwrapped toy for a child.
C. Ron Allen is editor of the Delray Beach Tribune. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.