On January 9th I had the opportunity to speak to the students at Eastern Middle School in Greenwich, CT. For the second consecutive year, these generous students and teachers have generously supporting my Strike 3 Foundation with a novel and unique approach to fundraising. Last year, in exchange for a small donation, students were able wear a hat of their favorite sports team. It is worth noting that given the proximity of Greenwich to New York, it is likely that most students chose that team from New York over their more beloved Boston rival. Anyhow, this year the donation was made in exchange for the opportunity to participate in a Halloween Dress Up Day.
The students listened intently to anecdotes about our championship run, lessons about overcoming adversity and doubt, and a few lighter moments shared by an oft-released, undersized reliever. The students, however, were most receptive when I began to speak about Strike 3’s Play It Forward Initiative. I recounted a few examples of idea submissions the organization has collected and could see the students’ creative wheels spinning as they considered ideas of their own.
An interesting note came from a casual conversation with Eastern principal Jim Shuckie, to whom I owe much thanks for organizing Thursday’s assembly. Mr. Shuckie noted that while in 2012 there was a “price” to participate in Hat Day, the 2013 Halloween Dress Up Day was run with a simple “donate what you wish” requirement. Perhaps we should be surprised that the 2013 donation was nearly 80% greater than 2012. Then again, based on the initial returns of an initiative that gives young students a voice, a cause, and some freedom, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised at all.