Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What's so great about a marching band?

Growing up I was a part of the high school marching band. Every Friday night during the football games, we would play the school fight song and march during the half time show. The marching band rallied the community in showing our support and pride in the team. Despite the fact that during my four years of high school our football team won only a handful of games, we continued to show up every Friday and support them.

By my senior year, it was clear we weren't going to be State Champions, but the marching band still showed up to support the team. Part of that was because it was required for band students, but I like to think it was because we believed the best in our team and hoped for their success.

The principle of believing in one's best has remained with me. I love to believe the best in people and get excited about organizations striving to do the same. This is what initially drew me to Able Works.

Able Works strives to equip individuals to fulfill their greatest human potential. As an organization, we seek to help people be free from poverty and oppression. We provide them with life skills and assets, including someone believing for their best. It would be easy to believe that my job, similar to supporting a losing football team, is a requirement. But Able Works continues to hope for people's success and truly believes in the individuals they are helping.

It isn’t just a job when you work at Able Works. You work here because you believe in it and want to be a part of making your community and the people in it better. And in doing so you believe with your heart and soul in the individuals you are helping. I work here for these same reasons. I want to continue to believe the best in people like we believed in my high school football team. I want to hope for their success.

Laura Gross

Friday, August 3, 2012

Overcoming Odds

If you are anything like me, every four years I loose a lot of sleep, my internal clock gets messed up, and watch more Television then I do any other time of year.  Why?  The Olympics!  

I was raised in a family where the Olympics were a mandatory tradition.   We have been faithful to watch the Opening Ceremonies and as many events as our schedules allow. It is part of the DNA of my family.  My maternal grandmother and grandfather participated in the 1948 London games.   They were both track stars from Canada. My grandfather was a hurdler, and my grandmother ran the Women's 4x4 Relay.  My grandparents met at the Olympics, fell in love and got married shortly after.  So, it isn't an understatement to say it's in my genes.

Now 64 years later, the Olympics are once again in London.  My grandfather is no longer with us, but I was blessed to be able to watch the Opening Ceremonies with my grandmother.  She kept saying, "These are so much better than mine.  They made us hold candles and let a few doves fly free." The 1948 games were right after World War II, so nobody, especially England, had any money for fancy torches, costumes or light shows.

But, there is something more about the Olympics than family history or the pizazz of the Opening Ceremony.  I think what draws me in every four years is the human spirit.  The chance to see records broken and history change.  I love watching people beat the odds.  To see the underdog win.  To see the once broken, made whole.  To see dreams come true.  This is why I work at Able Works.

Able Works cares about our community beating the odds.  We care about broken people becoming whole.  We care about seeing the under-resourced rise up and fulfill their dreams.  We coach, educate, lead, and cheer for individuals to break records.  To change history.  

I will never be an Olympian.  I may not ever get a chance to go to the Olympics as a spectator, but everyday I hear stories about the power of the human spirit, and I have a part in it. I guess you could say Able Works is like Coca-Cola or P&G, we are proud sponsors of East Palo Alto and the human spirit.