I attended a regional meeting last week in Hinton. Professionals in Economic Development gathered from all over Southwest Oklahoma to discuss many issues, but especially “Leadership Development.” Leadership development is one of the fundamental building blocks of Economic Development.
Education plays a key role in Economic Development. Chickasha benefits from having USAO, Canadian Valley Tech and a strong public school system. Positive educators have the power to transform lives and inspire young people to believe they can change the world. In previous columns, I have referred to the positive impact Chickasha schools and USAO had on my professional career.
This past week, I had the opportunity to volunteer on the first day of school. The Beautiful Day Foundation, lead locally by Abby LaForge and Kelly Wilkerson, organized volunteers at several different schools. We all had signs that we held welcoming kids back to school. It kind of reminded me of the pep rallies we had back in high school, with lots of cheering and POSITVE encouragement. This may sound very simple, but it was incredibly powerful because of everything we have all dealt with so far in 2020. The intent was to welcome the kids and let them know we all care, but just being around so many volunteers full of positive energy was encouraging to me. I saw parents dropping their kids of at Lincoln Elementary with hope in their eyes that offset their natural concern for their kids. I saw a community supporting our young students.
According to their website, the Beautiful Day foundation original mission began “with a simple statement to elementary school age kids: The day you were born was a BEAUTIFUL DAY. Your life and existence is worthy of being celebrated.” They are passionate about telling kids this important message. If there has ever been a year when we need an organization like this, it’s this year!
My degree is not in elementary education, but I believe that an organization like this can make a difference. When the community supports it’s schools, good things happen. Sometimes kids can learn more from what they see, than the spoken word. Why are most sports teams more successful at home in front of cheering crowds? Maybe the community support by the Beautiful Day volunteers will inspire some young minds to be our leaders of tomorrow.
Last Thursday morning as the kids were cheered and welcomed back to school, it was sunshine and 65 degrees. It WAS a beautiful day and that is #TheGoodStuff.