Thursday, July 17, 2014

Learn, Do, Teach...(Repeat!)

First, I want to thank all of those who have responded since my last post for our current fund drive! Every dollar goes a long way and we appreciate your prayers and support...pokotfriends.org.

During my undergrad days at UB, I had an awesome mentor in the Leadership Development Center (now known as the Center for Student Leadership and Community Engagement). I will never forget the day Frank sat me down and introduced me to the concept, "Learn, Do, Teach." At the time, I remember thinking it seemed so simple, but it was something I hadn't quite pieced together myself yet. This concept, for various reasons, has been at the forefront of my mind lately. 

One of those various reasons was that back in May I was asked to help with the current UB MBA's LeaderCORE assessment day. This meant observing individuals interact in a group setting while trying to solve a problem, and individual interviews concerning their strengths and weaknesses in the program and in life. I went through a very similar experience during my time in the program (when it was referred to as PACE) and benefitted greatly from the recommended improvements. 

From the second I walked into the Alfiero Center until we started the first group exercise I felt disoriented. I hadn't been in that building for years and floods of memories of the classes, presentations, group work, professors, classmates and relationships came rushing back. Looking around me at the MBA class in their business attire I thought, how easy it could've been for me to be a student in that program at that very moment...but then gave thanks to God that it was over (although I love academia, I also love my evenings and weekends free from going to class or doing school work). 

Once I had the chance to catch up with a few friends and eat the familiar campus dining breakfast that was provided, I started thinking about that concept that was introduced to me a decade earlier at this point...learn, do, teach. I was on the other side now - the teaching side - helping others to go through what I had once gone through myself, watching and listening carefully and assessing them so that the comments I made could help them improve. Leaving the assessment that day, my mind wandered further asking the questions, how many of us stop after learning and doing and don't continue on to teach what we have learned and done? How many of us stop after learning?

I could come up with a half of dozen ways in which I stopped at "do" and even a few where I stopped at "learn." Where am I going with this? Good question! The answer - two ways. One, I think for me simplicity comes to mind. Although not an easy task in many instances to learn, do and teach, the concept itself is simple and it is good keep that in mind for things we learn throughout life.  It is easy to get overwhelmed in life, caught up in the hustle and bustle, technology and other distractions but my mind always goes back to the mission work and the simplicity of life that we enjoyed while doing so. While we realized life was possible without cell phones and electronics, we were able to teach women basic business skills to help them make money to feed and educate their families. Sometimes while teaching others, we wind up being taught ourselves. This leads me to my second point...if I could edit the learn, do, teach concept, I would add repeat to the end! Why? I say, why not? What better way to live your life, constantly seeking knowledge and sharing that wisdom with others.   

I know I've probably completely oversimplified this concept, but now what comes to mind is one of my life mottos from our dear Blessed Mother Theresa: We can do no great things, only small things with great love. Learn the small things, do the small things, teach the small things...all with great love...and then repeat. You never know whose life you will touch and how that will impact them the rest of their lives!

What I am grateful for:
1) The much-needed vacation that I am on - the week spent with family, my hubs and my sweet baby girl. (With no cell phone service but obviously an internet connection!)
2) When my little sweet pea, who is learning animal noises, consistently makes duck noises and moves her body back and forth like she is waddling when trying to learn any other animal noise right now. Me: What does a birdie say...tweet tweet? Sweet pea: quack quack quack
3) Celebrating the final Mass with the Buffalo Daughters of Charity back in June. What an honor to be invited to such an occasion and what a blessing it was to know all those holy ladies - we will miss you dearly!!! 


Friday, July 11, 2014

Two Week Drive!

We are kicking off a two-week fundraising drive to raise as much money as possible for our 2014 campaign. We are excited to have raised over $2,000 thus far for the sewing co-op, but every dollar goes a long way and we could use your support! See details in grey below...to donate go to http://pokotfriends.org/

ASANTE SANA FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!!

I actually may have some time next week to blog about what's been going on recently...crossing my fingers. The topic in my head that has been lingering out there is: Learn, Do, Teach. Stay Tuned! 


Dear Friends and Supporters,
 
We are excited to announce that we have officially launched our 2014 Good Friends of the Pokot fundraising campaign! Last year your support was directly responsible for creating educational opportunities for the Pokot children--most notably a brand new school! This year your support will help create economic opportunities for the Pokot women. Our campaign will be centered around starting a sewing co-operative that will be owned, managed, and operated by Pokot women.
 
Many of the Pokot people, especially women, are eager to work and provide support for their families. But, they often find their opportunities to be very limited. That is why starting a sewing co-op can have such a big impact. The co-op will give these women the opportunity to generate income to support their families by producing and selling clothing, school uniforms, and other products to the surrounding areas.
 
The Pokot women are ready and eager to take on this challenge, but they need a partner. That is why we need your help and support to raise start-up funds to make this project possible. Please consider supporting this project, and most importantly, keep the Pokot women in your thoughts and prayers. Don't hesitate to pass this email along to a friend who might share your passion for positively impacting the lives of these women!
 
With prayers and gratitude,
 
Matt & Liz Astridge
2012 Vincentian Lay Missionaries