Monday, April 23, 2012

Bring Your Spark to IMPACT

Ann-Christine Racette
IMPACT Grad and Publicity Committee Member

I used to fancy that my silent contribution to society would be my watercolor paintings. Since 1995, I have accumulated a huge body of work. (And yes, I also got a day job.) Despite my friends’ prodding, I wasn’t ready to share my paintings with the wide world. A woman who was a mentor once told me “You can’t keep your irreverent spark all to yourself forever”.
As 2012 approached, I was ready for something brave and adventurous. I didn’t suddenly feel more confident politically, but with experience I saw more clearly. That was my power, I decided.
I took inventory of my professional skills: persuasive writing, obsessive organization. I took inventory of the abilities my friends have pointed out: listening, empathy, impassioned speech. None of these make rocket science, but I hoped that together they could be of some use. I didn’t expect to change the world. But, humbled and inspired by the IMPACT instructors’ and staff’s years of dedication and service, I wanted to lend a helping hand.
I chose IMPACT Chicago because it coalesces my big-sisterly concern for young women; my care for my close ones; my passion for my social beliefs; my vision of what a better place this could be if we all used our intelligence; my outrage for the erosion of basic rights; and my impulse to give back and pass on everything that I have received. When I read an IMPACT e-mail newsletter calling for volunteers, I jumped at the chance to have a hand in all this by contributing to the marketing and publicity efforts.
I discovered that I do have something to say. I am finding my voice—the voice I first exercised seventeen years ago, in a Core Program. I am putting my writing in the service of something I care about, tapping into the same compassion with which I supported my IMPACT classmates. I am arguing clearly for what I believe in, using the same clarity of mind I practiced in the IMPACT fights.
What is the skill you are secretly proud of? What special ability have your friends casually pointed out to you? Imagine what a gift it would be to your community, and how you would blossom from sharing it!

Word of mouth is the most effective tool we have because it is a message born of experience, conveyed with firm belief, out of concern and respect for the recipient. IMPACT--pass it on!

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