It was the middle of the night I’m sure, maybe even later, when we called Ann and told her yet again: we need your help. We’ve got one week to launch a site. We need a volunteer to build it. And you’re our only hope.
It’s always them, you know, the ones with so much to do you can’t see them fitting one more thing in. They manipulate the laws of time & space to make anything possible.
And so she did with LaLaLove. Ann said “yes” – because this is just what Ann says. Always.
It’s not as if she owes me a favor, not as if we go “way back” – though maybe our souls do, if we go all the way back to that place in the primordial soup where love came to life. In the universe we now see, though, we live on opposite coasts, come from different places, and had no reason at all to even know one another. Except that a synapse of the universe fired somewhere in the form of a tweet or a talk or a blog post and serendipity decided we would be in this love-the-world thing together.
She said “yes,” along with countless others. Like Robbie, who poured his heart in at a time when I’m sure he wondered if his heart had any more to give. And Lulu, whose art always breathes life, humanity, tenderness, love, resonance and connection into every site she touches. And Sanjay, who missed the school’s first graduation to stay home & stay up for a week with Ann to make sure, once again, that love had a platform on which to work it’s magic.
They said “yes” to LaLaLove and, in doing so, they said “yes” to creating a world in which it was possible for hundreds of children from 30 schools, churches and scout troops in 19 states to build a school out of love and music.
The yes they whispered to the wind traveled – on the radio waves of our partners at Kids Place Live on Sirius XM – to 30 music teachers, parents and scout leaders who sang back with all the love in their hearts, and all the kids in their care, “yes.”
One of those music teachers was Missy O’Keefe, at Sylvia Rosenauer elementary school in Jackson, NJ. She said “yes” too. Her yes sounded like the voices of 345 children singing the words “Don’t Stop Believin’.” Her “yes” looked like this:
To her, and to those 345 children, 148 people gave $5,700 to say “yes” to the wish carried by these tiny voices that their song would somehow be enough to build a secondary school for 500 children they haven’t yet met half the world away. As it had been for Ann, Robbie, Lulu, and Sanjay, “yes” was probably not an easy answer for Missy, nor for the people who gave their support. When they learned they’d raised the most of all the schools who participated, the vice president of her PTA wrote us this note:
My name is Jackie Capasso and I’m the vice president of the PTA at Rosenauer elementary school. We entered the LaLaLove contest and since then our school has not been the same. But first I must give you a little background of our school. We are the smallest elementary school in our area with about 345 kids from kindergarten to 5th. We are also considered to be of the lowest income in our area. We are like a family here and the fact that we have come so far in so many ways including this contest is amazing. Our children are so excited they watch their video and sing it all day long. They know what it’s like to go without and the fact that they know they are helping to build another school in Tanzania just gives them such pride.
Students at their local high school said “yes” by holding a bake sale to support them. A local yoga teacher said “yes” with a benefit yoga class. To these children who “know what it’s like to go without,” who raised their voices to ask the universe for a gift to give away, the universe said “yes.” You shall be heard.
During LaLaLove, 697 people gave $27,740 to say a resounding “yes” to hundreds of children who raised their voices in love in hopes that they could build a school out of song.
Each brick will echo the song of hundreds of children singing “I love you.”
Each child who enters will faintly hear their voices filling the walls with music and love.
All because Ann and so many others said “yes” – when “no” would have been a whole lot easier.
Their voices all echo and amplify one remarkable woman who dared to say “yes” to the dream of building a school that would transform her village, and her country. Even when she had only chickens to build it.
This is what happens when we dare to say “yes” – even (especially) when yes seems impossible.
Yes begets yes.
No begets nothing.
This November, during LaLaLove and Epic Thanks, so many people said “yes” to Mama Lucy’s dream of building a secondary school that we are able to invest over $65,000 USD – and the school will be open in January so that Leah, Gideon & their classmates can continue their education without interruption.
Thank you for saying “yes.”
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