Everything happens for a reason. That’s usually what our parents and friends tell us when things don’t work out the way we had hoped. In that immediate moment, it’s painful and hard to accept; but as time goes on, the “reasons” unfold and the stage becomes set for bigger, better opportunities. Indeed, there is wisdom and peace in understanding that the present challenges we face can be overcome; and that if we continue to persevere, move forward, and grow personally, good things lie ahead.
This tenet holds true for those who realize their dreams and create change in our communities, too. We discussed it last year with Dr. Leland Melvin, who at an early age was given a chemistry set by his parents that set off a literal explosion in his house, but more importantly imbued a curiosity for science and exploration. After a career ending injury in the NFL, and then overcoming numerous other obstacles, including the loss of his hearing, Melvin became a NASA astronaut. He logged over 565 hours in space over two missions on the Space Shuttle Atlantis. Melvin has now become a major catalyst for S.T.E.A.M programs in schools around our nation.
Similarly, my friend Michael Drake, CEO of masterIT, recently shared how an LPBC Signature Breakfast we hosted in November 2009 is now serving as the inspiration to do something special with Tom Shadyac’s new nonprofit, One Family Memphis. The speaker was Bill Strickland, founder of Manchester Bidwell Corporation (manchesterbidwell.org). During his presentation, Strickland clicked through an array of images, illustrating a world-class center in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, that serves public school students by offering classes in their ceramics, design, digital and photography studios. It’s a beautiful, state of the art facility that hosts formal galas and iconic concerts in an under-resourced, neglected area, but because of earned respect, they don’t even have to lock the doors at night.
So, when Michael joined Tom Shadyac’s team and discussions began on what model would make the most sense for the Soulsville area, Michael flashed back to Strickland’s 2009 presentation. That set in motion a recent site visit with Strickland and his team; and now, a plan that will be unfolding right before our very eyes. Yes, sometimes it just takes time, but everything happens for a reason.