Everyone’s story is a little bit different, just as each person’s own goals are different from his/her neighbor’s. But here’s the story, as best as I can tell it, of when and how I found out that we had not only reached $25,000 but had surpassed it to $27,000.
The school bell rung at 10:45 signaling that 2nd period was over and it was time for break. I was sitting in English class staring at the clock, counting down the seconds until it was time for me to go. As soon as I heard the bell, I packed up my books, threw them into my backpack, thanked my English teacher, and ran out the door all the way from one end of the building to the other on my way to the technology lab. At exactly 10:50, it was time for my biweekly conference call with Hands Along the Nile and my technology teacher. I rushed through the crowded hallways of hungry students who made their way down to the dining room to grab a granola bar or an apple before announcements and slid into the only open seat in my technology teacher’s office just as we heard the phone ring at 10:50. I catch my breath just as my technology teacher puts the phone on speaker so that we can both listen in on the conversation.
After our usual greetings and updates, I dug out a notebook and a pencil so that I could take notes of things I needed to get done–emails to send, proposals to write/edit, phone calls to make, research to be done, etc. Things seemed to be going well, from my side. My to-do list was shorter than usual, and I breathed a sigh of relief. Just as we are about to schedule our next conference call, Jennifer, on the other side of the phone, interrupted with “Hold on, Sarah, I didn’t tell you yet, did I?”
My eyebrows furrowed together as I looked at my technology teacher with a puzzled face. She shrugged her shoulders and I respond with a confused “What are you talking about?” There was a short silence on the other side of the phone, almost to the point where I wanted to check to make sure she was still on the line. Suddenly, she said, “We made it. We have officially raised $26,900 toward this project.”
Even though this comment was made shortly after we had discussed shipping plans (and that we would have to extend the financial goal to $30,000 to properly cover shipping fees), I could feel the heat of my excitement reach my face. My eyes lit up and a smile erupted on my face. I looked over at my technology teacher, who was beaming right beside me. She had been through this process with me from the moment I had this crazy dream almost exactly a year ago from now, and she was just in as much shock and amazement as I was.
The rest of the day at school, I couldn’t stop smiling. I texted my mom immediately after the conference call to let her know of the big news, and from that point on, nothing bad that happened throughout the course of the day could even compare to the emotional high I was feeling after that call. Yes, I still have some money left to raise in just under a month. Yes, it’s still going to be a heck of a lot of work even after the money is raised. But that’s not the point.
I couldn’t stop smiling because I had reached my initial goal. A year ago I had made it my goal to raise $25,000 for a project I didn’t think was going to go anywhere. And now, look where it’s come. We made my goal. I reached my target. I fulfilled a dream I had. I was amazed, shocked, and honestly on the verge of tears for the rest of the day. Happy tears, of course.
Who would have ever thought that some normal seventeen year old girl could ever make such a large dream come true? To tell you the truth, I doubted myself for a huge portion of this project. But I didn’t stop. I didn’t stop when people told me no, or when I was turned down, or when we hit a wall. I didn’t stop. I asked for help, I pushed myself WAY out of my comfort zone, and I did it. Obviously, this is not meant to say that without the help of my parents, my teachers, Hands Along the Nile, the gracious people who donated to the project, and the rest of my family and friends who have supported me along the way I would have been able to reach my goal all by myself. Because that would be a lie.
Don’t ever stop believing in the beauty of your dreams. Because if you work hard, ask for help, and have faith that your dream will one day be carried into completion, I can only hope that your experience of seeing your dream finally come true (regardless of what that dream is) is similar to what I have experienced. It was a day that changed my life forever, and it made me realize that I will not stop, even once this project is done, fighting for the change I want to see in the world, now that I have proven to myself that when you do all you can do, anything can happen. Anything.