You are not alone in your dreams.
This is a statement I have come to realize is true as I look at the amazing dream I’m living after 25 years of wondering if it would ever happen. As a high school student my greatest joy was teaching young kids in a small church. I spent my allowance and hard earned money to buy snacks and craft supplies. I poured my efforts into coming up with creative crafts and producing good entertainment for young people every Sunday morning. I was driven to provide the children I taught with an amazing weekly experience.
This did not stop when I left high school and moved on to university. There I found a public school, which was willing to take me in as a volunteer to help tutor students during class time. With every student I tried to find ways to connect with them – whether it was a smile, a song or a tangible item that meant something to them. I wanted to let them know they mattered.
Even then I knew my mission and my gift to the world was to work with children. My idea was to graduate University, go into the field of journalism and eventually work my way up to hosting my own talk show for kids. But dreams do not come without detours.
I did not graduate university.
I did not work in journalism.
But neither did I give up on my dream of working with, and for, children.
Down all the roads that have led me to my path, there have been many people who have helped my dream to materialize.
My first inspiration was my mother. As I was growing up I watched her give her time, her talent and her energy to entertain young people in our community. She is a gifted storyteller, capturing her audience in a way that makes them want to listen for hours.
So many difference-makers have made it possible for me to have the amazing privilege to work with over two thousand students a week – the music teacher who pushed me to develop my voice with songs that did not interest me but helped me learn to work with others; my beautiful life partner and children who are the greatest example of how a family working together can help a dream materialize; my late husband; community leaders both secular and in the church; friends; neighbours; and countless other amazing individuals who have provided support, encouragement, motivation and hugs.
And this is my dream – to go across North America, and possibly the world, with an amazing, traveling talk show. I dream of inspiring students to believe that One Person Can Make a Difference Together We Can Change the World.
For the past 12 years I’ve had the awesome privilege to use music, dance, and drama to bring about a message of hope to over half a million young people. But I can’t say I’ve done this on my own. I have only been able to accomplish this with the help and support of others. All the people who have inspired me to take the steps possible to make this dream of mine happen.
This show, my show, has been a dream of mine since high school. I made it my goal to finish university, work in journalism and eventually have my own talk show. But not just any talk – a talk show would be especially designed for kids. And 25 years later, yes 25 years later, I am living my dream. Not only do I have the honour of hosting a community talk show for kids on television (thank you Rogers for seeing that vision and giving it your support) but I also have a daily, traveling talk show for students. I am blessed with the opportunity to go into the community and provide young people with a time where they can come together to have fun, learn life lessons and build self-worth.
This dream has not come without the blood, sweat, and tears of the many people who have supported me along the way. So, how do you thank all the people who help make your dreams possible? By continuing to live your dreams and encourage others to do the same.
Sometimes we forget exactly how many people it takes to see our personal dreams materialize. Never forget to thank them when you remember.
The phrase “pay it forward” is not a meaningless cliché. It means that we are moving each other towards success. Whether you are just starting to get an idea of what your life’s work will be, struggling to make it happen, or living the dream never forget to thank all the people who have helped you, and will help you, take the steps to success. You are amazing.
Remember the cycle:
Live. Dream. Give. Live. Dream. Grow.