Becoming an Asset Champion

By Karen Waters

We can do no great things…only little things with great love. (Mother Teresa)
Be the change you want to see in the world. (Ghandi)
Love your neighbor as yourself. (Jesus)

Becoming an Asset Champion formalized something in me that I have long understood – if you’ve been greatly blessed, you have a responsibility to give back – pay it forward if you will.

I was thinking back to when I was a kid: the schools I went to, the neighborhood we lived in, the community – and I had great teachers, neighbors and other caring adults who made a difference in my life. I didn’t realize it then, but I had assets. Now it’s my turn to try and make a difference in someone else’s life…and maybe ensure that a few assets are part of the kids’ lives that I interact with on a regular basis.

It was natural to become involved in the schools because Warren and I have four kids who attend Peter Hobart, Susan Lindgren and Park Junior High. I want to know the kids my kids go to school with and hang out with. I want to help make a difference with the kids in the schools and the teachers. Just being present on a regular basis can do that. The amazing thing, most of the time the kids re-energize me…so the “give back” that I am trying to foster comes back to me again as another blessing.

I really like how the Asset Champion training helps me think about kids and assets and how the two intersect. For instance, at the bus stop in the morning I wait with a bunch of kids including my two sons. We practice counting by twos or Spanish vocabulary or how to count in Tibetan or play eye spy. The point is, they have a GREAT start to the day. My husband and our neighbor play soccer every morning with the older kids at their bus stop. They all burn off a little energy and again have a GREAT start to the day. It’s so simple and it takes about 10 minutes.

Working one on one with kids is wonderful. But I also think it’s important to advocate for all of the kids in our community. Sometimes my own kids complain about “mom is going another meeting?!?!?” but in the long run they will know that if something is of value (and believe me, kids, good schools and good neighborhoods and communities are!) then you have to invest something in it whether it’s time, talent or treasure – sometimes it has to be all three. But the point is, if we all do a little (even 10 minutes a day at a bus stop) the benefits grow to something that right now we can’t even begin to imagine, but it is full of hope, vibrancy and goodness. So what are you waiting for?