Pura Vida & Intervención Divina
Do you know the feeling you get when you know there is something bigger at work? That overwhelming notion that what you are experiencing is far too beautiful not to be part of a divine plan set out for your life that might be even greater than you could ever imagine. There have been countless moments like that for us while on this journey of Where Collective. Looking back, we had such a faint understanding of what it would turn into, who we would meet, and what our mission would become. It's been incredibly humbling to see it all string together over the past year and a half and we really can't wait to see what is in store.
One pivotal connection for Where Collective was made during my last minute decision (very Kelsey-esque) to sign up for a study abroad trip to Costa Rica through my MBA program in January of 2020.
For the duration of the ten-day trip, I was assigned a random roommate that would turn out to become such an inspiration to me in so many ways. Renee is not only a kind-hearted, and hilarious, she is also a nurturing mother, supportive wife and amazing friend. Throughout this trip, a small group of us connected about family, faith, culture and business and it couldn't have been more filling!
During one of our conversations, Renee and I connected over the commonality that we both have greek influence in our families. My yiaya and papou (grandma and grandpa) were from a small town called Vrasna and came to America when my mom was eight years old. Growing up, our family had the privilege to visit Vrasna every few years, creating some of my favorite memories with my grandparents, aunt, uncle, cousins, second cousins, third cousins, etc. (yes, the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding was spot on with the enormous family component!). The Greek culture has played an influential role in my life and it turns out that Renee felt the same way.
She shared that her Aunt Anna was in an orphanage in Greece in 1959, where she was adopted by Renee's grandparents to embark on the next chapter of her life in California. Throughout the next 35 years, she continued connecting with others from the orphanage and they collectively felt called to support orphan children in Greece, in the same way others supported them. In 1994, they officially created Benjamin Child Support Society, whose main mission is to provide educational, financial, medical and spiritual support to children all over the country of Greece. In addition, they offer to host the children at a two-week christian summer camp every summer on the coast of the Aegean Sea, where they can learn about the Lord and grow in their faith.
Once we heard the backstory and impact of this organization, we knew we wanted to work with them and establish them as our giving partner. What we didn't quite realize, was how much they would actually become two of the biggest supporters of Where Collective's mission and both Hannah and I personally. Anna and George are two of the most selfless, loving and inspirational people we have met and we are incredibly grateful to know them.
As with many plans this past year, we are having to pivot on our in-person support of Benjamin (insert the FRIENDS meme with Ross yelling "pivot!"). Although, we promise that there are some BIG plans head to further support Benjamin with the involvement of our collective! Hint: It might or might not involve an in-person volunteer opportunity to travel to a magical place that starts with a "G" and ends with "reece". Stay tuned, friends! Exciting things are on the horizon for our Collective.
Believe it or not, I really tried to condense this blog post but here we are seven paragraphs later. 😂
We appreciate you all more than you know! Love and well wishes,