I want to inspire people. I want someone to look at me and say “because of you, I didn’t give up.”-unknown
WWhen I tell people the name of our non-profit organization, they usually repeat it. “Inspired by Thee?” they ask. The “Thee” throws them a little. It’s different. Unique. Out of the norm. An old English term meaning “You”. It’s rare. Rarely used. Rarely heard. Rarely seen, unless of course you are reading the Kings James version of the Bible or a Shakespearean masterpiece. To me, all of these things make it special. It captures the essence of those individuals that I hope to honor and support through our work; young people who are succeeding, thriving and impacting society in a positive way, despite facing some of life’s biggest challenges.
Inspired by Thee is the culmination of a spiritual and emotional journey that began for me almost 10 years ago, when my younger brother and only sibling, Kyle, passed away in a car accident. From the moment my mother called and told me that Kyle was no longer with us, my life changed forever. It was my ground zero.
Early on, a friend suggested that I write in a journal. It was a great idea, and I highly suggest it for anyone experiencing loss or a significant challenge. I have always enjoyed writing, but I had so many emotions I was dealing with during that time, it was difficult to write things down. I did not want to see the ugly truth. For me, writing things down, made them real.
Fast forward to 2012. I was finally ready to write. My perspective had changed. I wanted to actively focus on the positive. Living life to the fullest. Not taking anything for granted and recognizing the things that brought joy into my life and the lives of others. Inspired by Thee began as a blog, where I planned to write about people, places and things that inspired me, and I would invite others to do the same.
My first blog post was going to be about Kyle. He keeps me going. He keeps me hopeful. He reminds me that life is short, so take chances, follow dreams, go for it! From the time he came into the world, he was my buddy, my confidant and my biggest cheerleader, and now, even though I can’t pick up the phone and talk to him, I feel his love just the same.
A scholarship in Kyle’s memory had been established at University Liggett School immediately after his passing. My family was truly honored because ULS is a place that Kyle and I truly loved. Our goal is to raise enough money to establish an endowment at the school, so that scholarships can be awarded perpetually. Learning about students who had received the scholarship and getting to know them and their families, made me want to do more and expand our reach.
While talking to a close friend about my vision, Inspired by Thee, the non-profit organization was born. We would build a community to offer support to amazing young people, particularly those who had experienced loss. Ironically, my friend tragically lost her sister a couple of years later.
So, that’s the story. This friends, is the beginning.
To Kyle, I am inspired by thee. To those of you reading this, I ask, who inspires you? Who do you inspire? How are you using the time you have been given? How are you living your dash?