After a very long, exhausting but rewarding weekend, I’m finally back home. While in Biloxi for an offshore powerboat race, I had the opportunity to meet a very precocious young lady. This young lady was one out of a group that we (OSS Cares) invited out to watch the race from Hope Haven Children’s Shelter. Hope Haven is a place that cares for abused and neglected children that have been taken away from their parents. Their stories are painful to hear but so inspiring at the same time. This particular young lady took my breath away. For a fourth grader, she had a mind and soul that extended far beyond her years. I talked with her for a few hours. We even shared Doritos. In these few hours, I realized something that I found very relative to our work here at She’s the First…given the opportunity to have an education and some encouragement, even those of us that have difficult circumstances can achieve our dreams. My little friend, we’ll call her K, wants to be an astronaut when she grows up. She did tell me though that she realized (as a 4th grader) that if she wants to do this, she will have to have lasik surgery when she’s 25 to correct her eyes. This made me laugh.
Little K was the second amazing woman I met this weekend. On the flight to Biloxi, I had the distinct pleasure of sitting next to a wonderful woman named Angela. She was on her way to her goddaughter’s high school graduation…a surprise to her goddaughter. She noticed that I was reading How to Be a Hepburn in a Hilton World by Jordan Christy and asked me what it was about. I explained the concept of emphasizing grace, class, and education in young women who are growing up in a world that has a tendency to put emphasis on other more trivial things. We got to talking about She’s the First and the importance of education. She was telling me about her children, her job, and how she changed the path of her son’s education by demanding a gifted program be instated at his school. Talking to her was so inspiring to me. She saw something that needed to be improved and took the necessary steps to make the difference that needed to be made. This is what the world needs more of. This is what educated women are capable of. I was so thankful for the opportunity to meet this wonderful woman and hear her story.
My weekend capped off with a real first for me….my first checkered flag. In the world of the Offshore Super Series, people are not only rewarded for winning races but also for their efforts off the race course. I’ve always watched people receive these flags and applauded all of the wonderful things they’ve done. This weekend, completely unexpectedly, I received mine for OSS Cares. It was a huge honor. Someday I hope to win my first checkered flag on the race course, but I will always cherish this one.