And How are the Children..?

Professional Development Project: Success!

Posted on: April 2, 2010

I am very pleased and so excited to announce that I will be attending Leadership Connections 2010!

As I described in my initial post on this topic, I decided to set some professional development goals to guide my focus during this time while I am between jobs. So I set out to obtain sponsorship to attend the McCormick Tribune Center for Early Childhood Leadership’s Leadership Connections conference. Starting about a month ago, I wrote letters to my local legislators, made announcements at my church, and wrote about it on this blog; I offered to exchange services, and generally worked hard to make the case for supporting the professional development of an ambitious (albeit unemployed) early childhood professional through private donations. And it worked!

My first donation was a $5 bill from an elder lady at church – a good reminder that sometimes we must start small, and any support and good will is worthy of gratitude.

As the days went on, I would receive a little money here, a rejection there. I got a personal call from my Congresswoman’s office, explaining that while they could not offer a donation, they appreciated what I was doing. That was my nicest rejection.

Then, just a few days before the conference registration rate was to increase, I redoubled my efforts, since I didn’t yet have enough to cover the cost of registration, and was nowhere near being able to take an additional seminar, or stay at the hotel. And it worked! With just enough time to mail a check, I was able to pull together a little over the registration amount from generous private donors. Then, something unexpected happened…

I got a scholarship!

It seemed like a long shot when I applied. Not because I’m not a worthy candidate, but because I don’t really fit the description of the scholarship candidate as described on the McCormick Tribune Center for Early Childhood Leadership  webpage. I figured I must have been disqualified when the end of March approached and I had not received any response to my application. Then, on March 30, I was informed that I would be receiving a scholarship to cover the cost of the conference registration!

So now, I am able to attend the conference and an additional seminar and a leadership networking dinner (those cost extra). And very significantly, I will be able to stay at the hotel. This is particularly significant, because besides being a nice hotel, it solves the problem of my husband having to drive me from Chicago to Wheeling, IL every morning, since I still do not have a driver’s license (I’ve never had one – a long story for another day).

So, as you can imagine, today I am truly, truly grateful, and humbled by the extent of people’s generosity. Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of those who have supported my efforts! I will certainly be blogging the conference, so stay tuned for Leadership Connections coverage right here. More conference updates to come!


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