Answering the call
What happens when East Ramapo alumni reunite and work together?
I believe that magic happens. When one of us needs help, we stop what we are doing and we take the time to listen. We remind each other that we are here for one another. And then we do what we can to help. This is the simple model of The Give Back Experience.
We remember where we came from with a sense of pride, love and gratitude. In a nanosecond, we remember our strong friendships and in many cases, lifetime bonds. When we look at photos from our childhood, we remember how special it was. We smile, we laugh, we reminisce. Most special of all, we remember. We remember so much because these are the years that shaped us. We are the people we are today largely because of our childhood experiences.
I believe in us. Although every generation may look back on their childhood, I believe that East Ramapo, in the 80s and 90s, gave us more than just nostalgia and memories. I believe the multiethnic and multicultural community that we grew up in gave us specific values, life experience and blueprints for how diverse groups of people can effectively and beautifully work together.
Diversity was all we knew – our friend groups were racially, culturally, economically, religiously, and beautifully diverse. Think about your class pictures. Even better, if you still have them, take them out. LOOK at the diversity in the picture. This is just how it was. Every shade of brown is reflected. Spring Valley was a landing place for so many different people. We were not the wealthiest district but we were rich in humanity.
I believe we can create change. We competed in and out of the classroom with the best and brightest. And we can do this again. We had opportunities to be scholar athletes and musicians. We had opportunities to be involved in a long list of extracurricular activities and students groups. And we thrived. Best of all, we had an administrators, teachers and coaches who cared about us.
I believe now, more than ever, that we have a moral obligation to give back.
Thank you for answering the call.