This guest blog is by Crystal Wilson, one of two chapter leaders of Room to Read's Seattle Chapter (Seattle was our first Room to Read chapter, started in 1999!). Crystal has been leading the charge for Room to Read in Seattle since 2007 with much passion and inspiration. But, she was inspired herself by two sisters half-way across the country who started a Room to Read fundraising campaign in honor of their dad and Crystal wanted to lend her passion to their efforts as well. Read on to learn more and see her challenge and announcement to us all in honor of Father's Day!
Father’s Day is a great time for me to reflect on why I’m a donor to and a fundraising chapter leader for Room to Read (GO SEATTLE!). And to honor my Dad with a Father’s Day gift (you must read to the end).
I first learned about Room to Read in April, 2006 and immediately started donating. I love their approach, their business acumen, and their positive, get-it-done attitude. It wasn’t until a while into my involvement with Room to Read that I realized that what really got me involved was my Dad. In spite of his background and upbringing (perhaps because of it) he married one of the strongest willed, smartest, prettiest, and most independent women I’ll probably ever know. And I remember how often he reminded me how great she was. Although I know he would have loved to have had a son with athletic skills, he adored me and valued the person I was – in spite of my complete lack of athleticism! He raised me to believe that I could do anything I wanted to in life and that being a girl was just what I was but certainly didn’t dictate any path in life.
I remember being inducted into Honor Society in middle school. Immediately after the ceremony, he pulled me aside and told me how the induction speeches talked about the honor student and how “he” did this or that. He…. He…. He…. My Dad said, they kept saying “he” and there were WAY more girls up there than boys. And then he said, “Fix that!”
After some time with Room to Read, I realized I was involved with the organization because my Dad’s voice was still in the back of my head saying “Fix that!” Room to Read is fighting illiteracy and gender inequality in education in the developing world head on and through them, I am able to help contribute to “fixing that” by donating money and time in working with the local chapter to raise funds.
Last week I heard a story about Robyn and Alyse, two sisters who are honoring their Dad by raising funds for Room to Read. Their goal is to raise $24,000 to establish six libraries so their Dad can ring the “yak bell” – a tradition Room to Read has when a big announcement is made (and yes, it truly is just a loud bell typically worn by a Nepali yak).
Check our more of their inspiring story here:
Wow, their Dad sounds like one heck of a guy! In their story, you can feel their love for him, not just for how they talk about what he did in raising them but in how they obviously love and value him. Their story is completely different from mine except for the love and support they got from their Dad.
My Dad died not long after that Honor Society induction but I still hear his voice every day. He’s the source of most of my inappropriate comments and many of my bad jokes but he’s also the source of my determination to make the world a better place.
So in honor of my Dad, in honor of the many Dad-like influences in my life, in honor of the men in my life who continually impress me by their dedication to and support of their daughters and sons, and in honor of these two sisters and their love for their Dad…I’m making a $24,000 challenge donation. That means, I’ll match what Robyn and Alyse raise in honor of their Dad so we can build more Room to Read libraries!
We challenge you to honor your Dad’s by donating to Room to Read in support of these sisters. Because raising a child, is as much a man’s responsibility as it is a woman’s. Because of the tremendous influence your Dad (or Dad-like influences) have had in your life. Because Father’s Day is a great time to say thanks, pay it forward, and give more kids the opportunity for education and advancement. And because I want to be there when Robyn and Alyse’s Dad rings the yak bell!