It’s hard to believe that a year ago today, I was in Liberia, West Africa, where my only indication that it was Thanksgiving came from all the tweets I saw, like 140-character crumbs left behind from some very delicious dinners. (At that time, shesthefirst.org was only three weeks old, perhaps with less than 100 Facebook supporters…and now we’re at 2,000+! That’s also very hard to believe.)
In Liberia, it was a blazing hot day and there was no turkey or pumpkin pie in sight. When you step outside the US on Thanksgiving Day, you at first miss being part of the single day where everyone, regardless of race, religion, or creed, pauses to celebrate the love of family and friends, feasts on favorite foods, and counts their blessings. But then, you realize that where you are, if it happens to be a very poor country, people feel this kind of intense gratitude every day, because the next meal, safety, and opportunity are never a guarantee. Needless to say, I’m having a blast at home with my family in New Jersey, but I’m thinking about Liberia a lot today.
Collectively, all of us behind She’s the First are grateful for our education. We are grateful for the friendship and partnerships with have with the hardworking NGOs you see listed in our Directory, many run or staffed by Americans who will also be spending a Thanksgiving away from home this year. We are grateful for our Board of Directors and mentors. We are grateful for you, our blog readers and fellow activists.
I asked members of She’s the First’s Leadership Team to start a gratitude list…we invite you to add onto it in the comments. Happy Thanksgiving!
My college education! I graduate this year, and I couldn’t have fulfilled my role in STF without it. – Christen Brandt, Executive Director
I’d say I’m most grateful that my husband and I took an incredibly gutsy, scary leap of faith to quit our NYC jobs and move back to the Midwest to be closer to family. I’m especially grateful that in a few short months we’ve been able to secure jobs, buy two cars, and be on the cusp of purchasing our first home…all with our family and friends right there to cheer us on. – Bridget Monroe, Ambassador
I am thankful that I had the opportunity to move across the country, start a new job in a new industry with people I admire, attend my very first NASCAR race, meet phenomenal women who became fast friends at the Women: Inspiration & Enterprise Symposium, grow the IWantHerJob.com community, become an “official” member of She’s the First, and to be snuggled up in my blanket by the fireplace surrounded by family right now. — Brianne Burrowes, Founding Member of She’s the First in Los Angeles
In 2010, I was most thankful for the time I was able to spend with my family, meeting my amazing She’s the First sisters, my dad getting back in his race boat again, my trip to Uganda, and all of the possibilities from 2010 for 2011 and beyond. – Maisy Page, Researcher
I’m thankful for perspective: for having the opportunity to view the world from another culture while in France and for the inspiration I’ve received from the story of every “first” associated with STF in the past year! – Monica Townsend, Campus Activities Coordinator
I’m most grateful for connecting with STF and using my writing skills to help advance the mission…and also having a job! – Rebecca Brown, Newsletter Editor
I am most grateful for the health of my family and friends this year. – Chelsea Orcutt, Campus Outreach Coordinator
My girlfriend and my family. I’m thankful for them always being there for me. – Casey Kraft, Campus Activities Coordinator