If service is the rent you pay for your existence on this earth, are you behind in your rent?
As I stumbled across this Robert Allen quote this morning, it reminded me of the emotional and fun-filled Lights, Camera, Fashion STARS Awards Luncheon I attended this past Friday. Seeing the joy on the STARS client’s faces as they were the stars on stage, wearing beautiful fall fashions provided by Dillard’s, make-up and hair styled to perfection...a sight I will certainly never forget.
I'll also never forget to give back, pay it forward, be socially responsible...whatever word combination makes most sense to you. For over ten years Graphique has made it part of its culture to give back to not-for-profits based in our own back yard. From Sojourner Center to The Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale and Metropolitan Phoenix, Scottsdale Training and Rehabilitation Services (STARS), and so many more, we have always strived to not only raise funds and donate services, but to also learn about the clients that they serve.
Today, I want to share a story about one of STARS’ clients that warmed my heart at the STARS Fashion Show. And a huge thank you to Mark Lipczynski for capturing Dana’s smile and excitement on stage! Visit MarkLipczynski.com for all of the show photos.
Dana was born with severe brain damage as a result of a disease called Toxoplasmosis. One of the effects of her disease is Cerebral Palsy – she can't talk, walk, feed herself, or do anything else independently. She is also blind. But that doesn't stop her. She is extremely social and always aware of her surroundings. “People might see what she can't do, but all she cares about is what she CAN do,” says her mother, Janet.
Even with Dana's unyielding motivation and sense of ambition, she and her family have always had obstacles to overcome. “Not a day goes by where people aren't staring at Dana,” Janet says. “Sometimes we feel like outsiders or we're on display.”
That's why finding a place to go and people to socialize with became a vital part of her life after she had finished school. Participating in a program with her peers gives Dana the opportunity to relate with people who face similar challenges. At 23, she is one of STARS' youngest participants. She began attending STARS' day treatment program (DTA) in July 2009 after graduating high school.
Janet initially chose STARS for her daughter because she thought the environment was warm and inviting. The participants seemed happy and everyone was supportive of each other. “I want people to be watching over my daughter like I do, and that's what I found at STARS,” she says.
So I ask you again, if service is the rent you pay for your existence on this earth, are you behind in your rent? If the answer is yes I encourage all of you to take the time to get involved. Not for profits can use volunteers, in-kind donations and as always, financial donations. And please remember a little can do so much. Here’s a challenge - gather 10 friends and pledge $10 each per month (just 1 lunch) to support the Art and Photography Programs at STARS. I bet exchanging that one lunch per month to make a STARS client smile is well worth the sacrifice. I skipped my lunch today. Visit STARSAZ.com for more information on this amazing organization today.