Dear 2013 Great Shape! Volunteers,
They have an old proverb in Jamaica that simply states: “All Fruits Ripe.” It means that good things have come into being. That great intentions have become reality. That the best we could have hoped for has come to pass before our very eyes, and the things we have worked so hard to achieve for 25 years have finally ripened to where we can enjoy the delicious fruits.
At 25 years, Great Shape! is no longer the duffle bag charity that defined its youth. In 2013, over 500 of you world-changing heroes will travel with Great Shape! to serve those in need in Jamaica, approximately 35,000 in fact. You will relieve suffering, prevent pain, give sight to those who haven’t seen properly in years – maybe ever, administer oral care to persons who have never seen a dentist in their lives, inspire teachers to help their struggling children make it, tell struggling children they CAN read and give them the tools to do it, bring the world of the internet and computing to communities who are caught in the digital divide, save lives and improve outcomes by doing basic health screening for blood pressure and diabetes. Perhaps more important than all of these amazing ripe fruits are the intangible gifts. The gifts of our time. The gifts of a kind voice, a receptive ear and a warm smile. The unspoken but unmistakably clear message: I CARE ABOUT YOU. The gift of love.
Those of you who are not coming for your first time know that these gifts are seldom a one way experience. By the very nature of service we are rewarded with deep and sometimes surprising personal transformation – experiences of joy, inner peace, happiness and indeed love.
It is in this spirit then, that I invite all of you to come to the Island In The Sun, remembering that in fact we are not coming to fix a tooth, hand out glasses or install computers. We are coming to connect with other human beings, to serve others needs, to show respect to every person we meet, to soak up the gratitude and to learn about ourselves. I invite all of you to leave behind your egos, your ambitions, your worries and your strife. Come with an open heart, good humor, a sense of adventure and an attitude of “go with the flow.“
I am deeply honored to share this journey with you all and call you my friends. Together, each day we will make the world a better place than the day before. Thank you for making this commitment to help others in need. All fruits ripe!
Great Shape! inc.