Guest Blog Post: Rippler Kali’ Rourke
I am truly honored that Kali’ Rourke agreed to do a guest blog for The Ripple Effect Blog. Kali’ is an amazing lady who understands the power of creating Ripples out there in the world.
Kali’ and I were introduced by a mutual friend and we instantly hit it off. Her passion for The Seedling Foundation and the impact is making on these young people who so desperately need it is infectious. I am hopeful that you’ll be inspired by her post as much as I am and find a way to support this great organization.
Rippling Through Generations
When I consider Rippling, I think about the legacy I am leaving in the hearts and minds of the people around me. You see, that is the only lasting immortality we ever have. Even your name inscribed on a building is likely to garner no more than a casual glance in a matter of years.
But your impact on a person’s life…and their children…and their children to come? Now that, my friends, is a Ripple worth making and a legacy worth leaving.
How do you do it? Parenting well and being a good friend is a great start and certainly makes an impact in your own family and circle of influence, but today let’s think a little bigger.
Right here in Central Texas, thousands of children in our schools have a common challenge. They suffer from the incarceration of one or more of their parents. Austin Independent School District Principals told the Seedling Foundation that this was a pervasive problem affecting thousands of children, but no programs existed to support them, even though they were topping the “at-risk” list.
The Board of Directors of Seedling decided to do something about it, and in response to great need they created the Seedling’s Promise Mentoring Program. Learn more at www.seedlingfoundation.org. This is a research driven, metrics based program dedicated to the proposition that all children should have the support they need to achieve and prosper, despite life challenges and circumstances. Research showed that the best place to give this support was at our schools and since piloting in 2006, Seedling’s Promise has served more than 1,500 students in the Austin area. We are just getting started.
How does this tie back to Rippling?
Simple. Parental incarceration can lead to generational cycles of incarceration. In some families, so many generations of parents and other relatives have gone to prison that their children actually think of it as a “rite of passage” and something that is inevitable. Seedling’s supporters and highly trained community volunteers (people just like you) are dedicated to interrupting that cycle and offering other options. We start as early as Kindergarten and aim for multi-year relationships that change lives.
Just think, for the relatively minor investment of one lunch a week at a child’s school, you can make a difference that will Ripple through their life, their family, their future children, and even the children that they choose to mentor, following your great example. The possibilities are endless and at Seedling we have seen these children internalize the fact that they were not responsible for their parents’ actions and they never need to make the same ones. We have seen them make better choices, leading to less discipline referrals and better academic outcomes. We have heard them say, “My Mentor is Family.”
Powerful stuff, and the Seedling Mentor Directors are there with you each and every step along the way. This is a team, and you are trained and supported to answer any tough questions and guide a small hand down a fresh and rewarding path.
My own little 1st grade Mentee and I play a game together called “Best Thing/Worst Thing,” where you share something from the previous week that fits into each category. The first time we played it, I asked, “What was the best thing that happened to you all week?” She looked at me seriously and said, “When you came.”
Consider supporting the program or even joining me in Seedling’s Promise. You can be some little someone’s “best thing,” and start a Ripple that will go far past your lifetime.