It takes an ordinary person to do something extraordinary

The Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville, Maryland hosts a monthly speaker series through which they offer their students the opportunity to hear from a variety of people who have made their passion their life's work. In the past speakers have ranged from comedians to NASA scientists. Today they featured Amman Imman Water is Life. I had the opportunity to speak with two audiences, first around 200 middle school students and then 270 high school students.

When I present Amman Imman to students, I tend to put a big emphasis on the organization's roots. I focus on why Ariane Kirtley started Amman Imman, my own story of joining forces with her, and relate that to how students can utilize their passion -- whatever it is -- to make a difference in the world. It's the story of ordinary people doing extraordinary things, fueled by their commitment, perseverance and dedication.

I believe that the example of following your principles and manifesting your passion sends an important message to young people. If, after learning about Ariane and Amman Imman's story, students at CESJDS decide to help Amman Imman and do a great fundraiser -- FANTASTIC! I will be there to support them along the way. If, after hearing the presentation, a student becomes inspired to take action towards another issue that grabs their heart, WONDERFUL! I have succeeded.
The photo tweeted by @CESJDSCONNECT shows the slide that I use to tell the story about how Amman Imman started. On the top left you see Ariane and the children in Tangarwashane when she first visited the Azawak as a Fulbright Scholar in 2005. The bottom left photo shows Ariane and I in 2009 with the children of Tangarwashane in their first school room built after their borehole was constructed. On the right, you see family photos: Ariane with her husband Denis Gontero, our Niger program director, and their two children.


Post a Comment

Like to talk to AI? Well, we would love to hear from you!

Real Time Analytics