30 Days of Thanks Day 19 – Nina and John

As an undergraduate student, I lived on campus during the summer between my junior and senior year at The College of Saint Rose. One of my jobs was to work in the late afternoon and early evening at the information desk in the Campus Center.

On a Wednesday evening in early June, I noticed two women putting up photos on a bulletin board. I watched as they laughed, pointing out photos and talking about times gone by. Eventually I went over to them to ask what they were doing. That was when I met Nina.

Nina and her friend Midge were volunteers from the Schenectady Chapter of The College of Saint Rose Alumni Association. Each year prior to Reunion Weekend, they prepare memory displays on the Campus Center bulletin boards. They photocopy yearbook photos and paste them onto posters which are hung for everyone to see as they gather with their classmates.

My first encounter with Nina and Midge happened back in 1994. They are still involved with the Alumni Association and still volunteer regularly with their Chapter.

Nina was Secretary when I was first appointed to the Alumni Association Board of Directors. She continued to serve on the Board as a representative of the Schenectady Chapter when I eventually became Secretary. We saw each other regularly at events and gradually struck up a friendship.

Working together on committees, I learned from her experience and example. Nina recognized the value of tradition, while embracing new ideas to engage younger alumni. She made sure everyone had the opportunity to share opinions and carefully considered all points of view.

I met Nina’s husband John at an Alumni Association event, but I don’t remember which one. When you have been volunteering with an organization for a decade, things begin to blur. Did that happen at Reunion or at a naming ceremony? Did I see you at the concert in the new recital hall or at the art show?

Nina and John’s son Jeff and I were both students at St. Rose at the same time. And since Nina is also a graduate of St. Rose we have a shared community which gives us a solid base for our friendship.

Nina is a font of information and historical perspective. When I was President of the Alumni Association, I relied on her insight and knowledge many times. Often, when someone asked if there was a precedent, I would point them in Nina’s direction. I knew if she didn’t have the answer, she would know how to get the answer.

Last year I attended an alumni holiday party with Nina and John. As we shared our cocktails before dinner, I excitedly told them about my upcoming trip to Australia. They asked about my preparations and offered to help. I thanked them for the offer, never expecting their gift would come within the week.

Denise – here’s a little something. Have a great time!

Nina and John – your “little something” was THE donation which helped me reach my minimum goal. Your gift made it possible for me to purchase my personal assistant’s airfare before the ticket sale ended. Your donation made me realize the trip was definitely going to happen.

When you are asking others for financial assistance to help you fulfill a dream, you can never predict how long it will take to raise the money or how many people will support you. Nina and John were the people who served as the tipping point in my fundraising. Their gift was not the largest I received. But the impact of that gift changed how I thought about the trip.

Nina and John, thank you for believing in my story enough to help me tell share it with a larger audience. I appreciate your support and I am grateful for our friendship. I can’t wait to show you some photos when we see each other at this year’s party!

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