I distinctly remember saying in an interview for my job that this job would be like a dream come true. It certainly has been, though at times I feel completely inadequate to be in charge of an entire program who's mission and goals are to change lives. It's been especially tough this past while as my program has lost funding, and I have lost 7 staff.....out of 8. Yeah, it was rough saying goodbye. I felt guilty that the funding was pulled while I am in charge, that these kids were losing their site coordinators with whom they got to see weekly....and that the fate of the program seems to be in my hands. At least I can say that we have tried everything, I wrote grants-to everywhere; foundations, federal grants, you name it. We sought after private donors, and even threw an amazing benefit concert. But it all fell short, and we didn't get the funding we needed. I did get some, in the form of two grants that will sustain myself, one staff member, and the program for another 6 months, and we are waiting back to hear on a very large federal grant, and a smaller grant--and I'm still writing away for other grants. It's so crazy that it's so difficult to get funding especially because our program was replicated in over 30 states over the past year!!! At least this great program is reaching a lot more kids now in all different areas.
Today as I was working with a co-worker, she was talking about how I had the greatest job in the world, how we got to see lives change right before us.....we see shy young kids turn into confident teenagers, we see friendships made, families enjoying time together. It reminded me why I push forward when it would be easier to walk away and just find a steady job. But like I always tell Robert, I don't work for the income, but for the outcome. When I go to activities and see kids and their mentors, laughing, smiling, and learning together-- that is what keeps me fighting for this program. I see the purpose, the need, and the value. At my last staff meeting with all my staff, one of them showed us this video she made-to say the program lost good people would be an understatement. But don't worry-I'm going to make sure my program keeps going strong and gets its site coordinators back!!!