While watching each of the 2012 Columbus Foundation Summer Fellows present on the work they’ve done this summer, the things they’ve learned, the ways they’ve grown, and the new directions they are heading in, I couldn’t help but be overcome with a sense of awe and wonder. From the start I had been thankful for this opportunity. From the start, I knew we would all do great things. But it really didn’t strike me until seeing presentations on the published work on case studies, the cost-saving research and planning, the inspirational artwork, the new ideas to help feed families, the new tools to provide healthy and educational opportunities for children, and everything else. And if you want to be inspired, just think of this: 11 young adults, a small simple group of individuals with a passion for making a difference, really changed communities. What each one of us did was nothing short of wonderful, if not impressive. But what each of us did collectively? Now that was incredible; miraculous; exceptional; phenomenal. It is encouraging.
One dream put into action by the Columbus Foundation. Eleven goals from eleven ambitious and dedicated non-profits paired with eleven community-minded “students”. One shared belief: that a little bit of youth, creativity, direction, and passion, a small group of people can truly make a difference. And this is where I am reminded of a quote (author disputed) that holds a lot of truth in it: Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
So I’d like to end my summer with the foundation and these 10 other future game-changers and servant-leaders by reminding people that together, we can be great; together we can exceptional; together, as thoughtful, committed citizens, we can change the world. Be inspired. I am.
Thanks to the Columbus Foundation, the Down Syndrome Association of Central Ohio, and the 2012 Summer Fellows for an amazing summer. May this not be a goodbye, and may you delight in the greatest of successes in your future endeavors.