Total impact is a section found on most grant applications or referenced in queries from potential donors. And it is a question I find myself honestly struggling to answer every damn time. Do they simply mean, how many kids do we serve, along with how many people do we employ? Or, maybe it means, what impact do we have on those individual kids? Or, it could even be, what are the ramifications of our presence within the community as a whole? I understand they are looking for quantification to justify any amount of money they may direct our way. Nonetheless, in most cases, our impact is decidedly intangible and unquantifiable, and, as usual, does not fit into any of their tidy little boxes.
I mean, really, how do you measure the impact of:
Because we don't use grades, a specific curriculum, or rubrics, the total impact of what we do every day may look minimal to those unaccustomed to our methodology and philosophy - until we re-imagine the metrics used to indicate improvements in confidence, engagement, and mental health. It is pretty much impossible to calculate the value of smiles, new friendships, warmth, trust, understanding, self-assurance, purpose, and personal dreams. Additionally, we may never realize the influence each fully appreciated, supported, and celebrated individual has on their family or community.
Weekly Creative Meditation
This coming Thursday is the last day before the Winter Break for both Centers. We will each have a Holiday party - DRC-East has a two-day "shindig" planned. We will share Secret Santa gifts (for those who choose to participate), games, stories, and treats that we will make together.
I have postponed my shoulder surgery to this Spring - after we finish our Academic year. There were too many things pointing to holding off. One of which was the stress of trying to shove a 2-3 week advised recovery period into exactly two weeks (and the inconvenience of winter, overall).
Thank you to everyone who has already donated to our annual funding appeal. If you have not yet, please consider contributing and sharing your reasons with your network. The only way we have to show our impact on the community is by continuing our work, and we can not do that without our community's financial support.