Long Term Giving. Long Term Impact.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It’s not.”

 — Dr. Seuss

To understand how Destination Imagination volunteers like Donna have an impact on the lives of children, just meet a few DI alumni:

Donna and her husband, Tim. DI volunteers. Impacting lives for 26 years.

* Ian. An 11-year DI veteran in Texas. Ian was last year’s DI Founder’s Award scholarship winner who is now in Oregon attending Lewis and Clark college (a very prestigious school). And although in college in a new state, he’s still volunteering with DI.

Eric C. He was on the DI team of Donna’s daughter way back in the 80’s and 90’s. Now grown up with a Masters from Oregon State, Eric credits DI with helping him lead a positive life and to give back in a big way.

* Lindy. TCU graduate. Spent the last four years traveling the world and leading tours at Machu Pichu. Another teammate of Donna’s daughter. Same story as Eric. Back in Portland and still giving back all these years later.

Erica. Linfield graduate and trainer at Standard. Has been volunteering with DI for years.

Samantha. Moved here from Texas via California. Contacted Donna just to volunteer and give back to DI. She’s been running a team for two years (a huge job).

Brian D. Intel engineer by day and DI volunteer running the score room since high school.

Brian M. Another Intel employee, has appraised every year since going to Oregon State University. Now is stepping up to be a Challenge Master.

Adam. Got a BA and CPA at the University of Oregon. After working as an auditor, took a “break” and is now teaching in China. Yet, still runs the Oregon DI website.

* Nicole, Donna’s own daughter. Her mother and father’s simple, funny memories tell it best.

  • A simple middle school French class assignment to create a menu turned into an elaborate French restaurant presentation complete with fake mustache. Going above and beyond.
  • As a freshman, stepping up to lead a group of 100 high school students to win the local high school home coming competition. They went on to win four years straight. Courage.
  • Speaking to a college audience, making an impact, by breaking a stinking bag of manure on the ground, sending the students scrambling for the safety of their chairs, and fresh air. Creative.

These are just a few  of the thousands of DI alumni and how they are doing more and giving more with their lives. And while their accomplishments are their own, those in Oregon can credit Donna and the other great Oregon DI volunteers for helping them learn to fly.

Speaking of Donna. As she was wrapping up a training event for DI appraisers tonight, I asked her where DI has the biggest impact.

She told me that schools today are forced too often to teach to the test. Try as they might, teachers just can’t give kids opportunities to be creative and to explore.

“And that’s where we can help,” she said.

Destination Imagination gives school-age children the opportunity to push the bounds of convention, seek out creative solutions to challenging problems, learn to organize themselves, and become leaders. It’s an organization that puts 80,000 kids in charge of themselves over 20 countries. And rewards them for thinking. Creative thinking.

“The bottom line for me is that I see smart kids every day who need to be pushed a little more in a safe, supportive environment where they can be free to create and maybe look at things differently or at least from a different angle,” Donna added. “DI does that. So many really smart or talented kids work in silos. DI helps with that too.”

I can’t sing enough praises for DI so you can read more here and here. I’ll even attest to how much my kids have grown during the previous three years while being on DI teams.

But what really got my attention tonight was the alumni. So many that I mentioned were at our meeting tonight. Giving back, yet again, to impact the next generation.

Just like Donna has been giving back and impacting lives for a long, long time.

Attended a DI training in preparation for volunteering at the Oregon regional tournament. 

*** If you have school-age kids, or know of other parents who want more for their children, please tell them and checkout the Destination Imagination website. Or, if you’re in Oregon you can contact Donna directly. You’ll be happy you did.

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About Eric Winger

Our perception of time is key to how we use our time. The most fundamental way to change that perception is to give our time. This opens us up to new opportunities and ideas from which we can build to really make a difference. ... Yes, we *do* have time to make a difference!
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