There's no doubt that BeadforLife has been a great experience. I got to go to Uganda. I raised thousands of dollars to support the wonderful women whose voices and experiences became real during my time there. I bought and sold beautiful, handmade, fair trade pieces. I took a picture of my cat wearing a BeadforLife necklace.
The YP program was conceived as a program to reach out to young professionals. From the program announcement: "We want motivated, compassionate, movers, shakers, and difference-makers! In one word, we want LEADERS who want to use their time and talents for good! We need YPs who aren't scared to roll up their sleeves and get to work building a successful program. As a YP, you will contribute to the growth process of the program, participate in Think-Outside-The-Box fundraising to support BeadforLife programs, and participate in the Live Below the Line Challenge."
Now, I did all of that. I lead the Virtual Coffee Hours, which were meant to bring YPs together to converse about the topics that mattered to them. I became a member of the YP advisory board. I raised money, reached out to all of you and got a terrific response. To me, the program ending doesn't invalidate BeadforLife or the money you all contributed. Or, for that matter, the work we did to grow the program.
So, why, if I had a successful experience in the program, is it ending? The answer is a story about the tricky pathway to volunteer engagement, financial fiscal years, and program design. There are two ways to look at it: you could blame everyone, or no one. I think both are valid.
Although YPs had the option to continue in a different volunteer program, I thought it was a good opportunity for me to reassess my chosen commitments. I wish it had ended differently, but I want to say thank you to everyone who supported me and the program.