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Several months ago, I resigned from a career I spent over 12 years creating to start a non-profit to help people learn more about nutrition, fitness and overall lifestyle.  I did it to expand professionally, meet a need in my community and answer what felt like a calling.  We are in our second year of The FIT Project and I am humbled by the support and impact we’ve had.  The people I work with are nothing short of amazing.  I work harder than ever, for zero monetary reward, yet I believe so strongly in the concept that I just keep going.  The humbling lessons I am learning about my community are priceless and I will carry them with me into every aspect of my life.

I was driving home yesterday from a high school where I had just launched FIT and couldn’t help but notice the difference in kids that surrounded that high school when compared to driving ten minutes through the woods and following a school bus dropping kids into a more affluent community.  I’ve always been fascinated at how the random birth of babies, to whom they are born and where they live hold such meaning in the continuum of their destiny.  Some kids will be fighting upstream.   Others will never know the opportunity in front of them.  It’s something I have always wondered about.  That random nature.  How was I lucky?  Was I lucky?  I had to swim a bit upstream myself.  And why are others luckier?  Why do some only have $150.00 a month for food?  How is that fair?  I’ve always felt this need for equality.  To even out opportunities.  Then I think.  Maybe I should write about what I am learning.  What am I learning?

Ideas really do create tomorrow.

Not everything is going to work, but the single act of trying will create change.

Not everything is going to work, but the single act of trying will create change.

It’s more important to respect people’s boundaries than to force something that will upset your team.

Bad energy is a cancer that starts small and grows.

Always support people.  Always.

My professional knowledge and experience is respected.  I’m learning to trust it.

People want to help.  They just need to be asked.

Find out what people want out of volunteering, so you can give it to them.

I learned as much from good management as I did from bad management.

People either think it’s crazy or inspiring to leave a corporate career to run a nonprofit.  I think it’s both.

There is nothing more fulfilling than seeing your idea make a difference in the lives of people.

There is nothing more hurtful than people questioning your intentions.

For every one person who turns you down, there are 4 who help you.

When I get nervous, which is often, I remember there is a greater force behind me who has taken me this far.  Just keep moving forward.

As for the questions I have surrounding balance and fairness, I suppose I will have the answers one day.  But, I don’t see it as my fight to fight.  It’s too big for me to tackle.   But something we can do is work with people who want to change their life.  Analyze what they’re eating, how much they are moving and how they spend the time that makes up their lifestyle.  In my limited experience in this field, it’s quite apparent that people don’t realized how they spend their time.  They don’t realize what big differences can be made with small changes.  So, our goal at FIT is to teach people how to live differently.  How to expect more from themselves and feed the voice that believes in all good things.

I have seen some incredible changes in people, and I have seen people fall right back into the cracks of which they came.  For both types of people, one thing is the same.  It’s the choices we make.  It’s how we implement the lessons we learn.

Honestly, I don’t know what will happen with The FIT Project.  I have my ideas of where I think it can go and how it can be incorporated into the healthcare industry, but I never know if it’s something I do for 6 more months or six more years.  Each day I know it can go away, and I treat it as such.  Right now, I just feel blessed to be part of such a fantastic team of professionals who care about their community as much as I do.

And I really, really, really hope these families learn to believe in themselves.  They have a better life waiting for them, and I believe that we have the team that can show them the way.

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