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A Thanksgiving Challenge  11.26.2014

Posted by: Jennifer Templeman

Jennifer Templeman is the Chief Financial Officer at Jumpstart.

Every year, after my family takes their assigned seats around the dining room table, my husband picks up a small envelope and carefully pulls out one small kernel of corn. After placing it in the center of his plate, he retells the legend of the five kernels of corn and as he recounts each of the blessings the pilgrims reportedly gave thanks for, he lays a kernel on his plate. After he is done, he turns to the person on his left and gives them the opportunity to share the five things they are most thankful for this year. It moves around the table, each person sharing in turn, until the loop finishes where it began. Only after this tradition is complete do we turn our attention to the bounty on the table in front of us and begin the great feast. 

As we prepare for this Thanksgiving I am overwhelmed at how long my list of things to be thankful for has grown. Some remain constant, like my family. Others are more serious such as when my father’s vision was saved by a retinal surgery that restored his sight enough for him to read again.  I smile because I’m grateful to see my children developing senses of humor as unique as their fingerprints – I never tire of the sound of laughter. And, yes, I’m grateful for the people I work with. It is at this point that I seem to get stuck. My first four items always come simply. Then I think it’s the stress of knowing I have only one final thing to add that makes it very difficult to decide what should be my last item.

As I mulled over the possibilities for this elusive fifth kernel of corn, I realized this year I’m grateful for something much bigger than my circle of friends and family. I am blessed to be a part of an organization that is transforming the future of children. By saying that every child deserves a chance to succeed and then providing them the tools they need to be successful in school, Jumpstart has played a role in improving the future for more than 11,000 children, just in the last twelve months. I came to Jumpstart because I wanted my service to make a difference to others. As I look back over this year I can see the impact in the lives of the children we serve, in the Corps members who have given so freely to implement our program and in the staff around me who have watched these transformations with pride and excitement. This year I am grateful for the future, because I know that Jumpstart has played a role in making it better.

I challenge you to take a few moments and make your own list of the five things that you are most thankful for this year. Truly examine the last twelve months and then decide what it is that most instills a sense of gratitude in you this season. My hope is that you find, as I have, that you are so overwhelmed with gratitude that you cannot pick just five things.

Happy Thanksgiving!



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