Support from Unexpected Places


"You can't always get what you want

But if you try sometime you find

 You Get What You Need"

~Rolling Stones

As I hinted in my earlier posts, the first attempt to get this project off the ground was linked to the culmination of my undergraduate education at UC Berkeley. Berkeley has a wonderful program, that I recommend to those with a unique, creative project in mind that is intended to build on their Cal education and have a meaningful impact on society. That program, the "Judith Lee Stronach Baccalaureate Prize supports intellectual and creative pursuits that heighten awareness of issues of social consciousness and contribute to the public good. The award gives motivated students the opportunity to extend and reflect upon their undergraduate work at Berkeley by undertaking a special project after their graduation." To me, this program seemed a perfect fit for "Baba Babee Skazala" and for my post-graduation plans. Unfortunately, those making the selection apparently did not agree with me. I did get feedback that the idea was good and that there might be other funding sources out there to get this project off the ground.

At the time I received this disappointing news, I was trying to finish my senior thesis and other final projects and had just been diagnosed with mononucleosis. It was not turning out to be the graduation experience I had been dreaming of! I set "Baba Babee Skazala" aside, focused on what had to be done and tried to recover my strength and stamina in the following months so that I would not lose another skating season to illness and injury.

Still, if I have learned one thing from my years as a UC Berkeley student and as a figure skater, it is to "keep on keeping on." There are plenty of people who will say NO to your dreams, who will tell you that you are not good enough, criticize your efforts and misconstrue your goals; rejections will exceed acceptances. UC Berkeley is not a place known for being full of "warm fuzzies." But, if you keep moving forward and learn from the criticism, pieces will fall into place. Let's be clear - I am not saying that if you work hard, you will have the Olympic dream. In fact, I don't believe that - lots of people work extremely hard toward a goal, give it their all, and do not reach that goal. I do believe those people gain other opportunities and grow from having made that effort. So, while I am a bit young to quote the Rolling Stones, it seems to fit the bill. Give it a listen! :)

During the stormy hurricane season of my Fall 2015 in Florida (see the blog post, "Unhomed & Un-moored"), I came across the Ella Lyman Cabot Trust. The Trust has a purpose to "sponsor persons with projects," and its founder - apparently following a triage approach from his medical training - chose to focus on a "small middle group - a group where a timely word, and unadvertised and prompt material assistance, might make all the difference between success and failure. Richard and Ella Cabot were willing; indeed, to gamble almost recklessly on the creative powers of human personality if there was even a slight chance of tipping the balance in favor of real and significant achievement."

I did not have high hopes, but applied for a grant, and am thrilled to say that I was approved for a grant from the Ella Lyman Cabot Trust in late 2015. I am honored that the Board believed "Baba Babee Skazala" and I were worthy of support, and as I re-read the words quoted above while writing this post, realize that this support truly did come at a critical time. Without it, I am not sure "Baba Babee Skazala" would have ever become more than a proposal on a few pieces of paper. With it, "Baba Babee Skazala" has become "real" - filming interviews and getting other organizations and individuals involved, growing the project beyond my expectations.

There are so many to thank for their support and participation in this project, but this is my heartfelt "Thank You" to the Ella Lyman Cabot Trust for being there at the right time and giving what was needed! 

A little classic rock to go with the blog ;)