Love is the Flower You've Got to Let Grow - Carly Koumoutseas

Love is the Flower You've Got to Let Grow - Carly Koumoutseas

When I was 16, I started volunteering at Goddard, an inner-city after summer school program. This was just 6 months after my mom was hospitalized. Volunteering with these children changed my life and made me think of the bigger picture beyond my little town and I felt myself connecting with these kids more than my own classmates. I wanted them to succeed and have unconditional happiness—what shocked me was that they wanted the same for me.
 
I was born into a family where two amazing parents and business owners, an award winning photographer (hello, she got tackled at a NE Patriots game in the 80s while sidelined taking pictures) and a synthesizer wizard had to make endless sacrifices due to more than a few disabilities, illnesses, and other differentiating life events. I quickly learned at a young age how much people have to give up when life throws you curve balls. 
 
The Goddard program became a second home to me. This program gave the children breakfast, lunch, schooling, people who cared for them, and most importantly, a safe place to be during the summer. Most of these kids were handed curve balls their entire lives and this program fulfilled its purpose of nonprofits - to help navigate life when it hands you lemons. 
 
The Pilgrim Church in Southboro sponsored this program in which I became the director of after a few summers. I was called mommy Carly and was able to direct volunteers, children, and the entire program to hold as many as 150 children to keep them learning and safe. It made me feel so whole and I’ve never been happier than the days of being a part of this community. 
 
This program made me continue to volunteer in any other places possible because you have a family and a community where you volunteer. You can give and offer relief to folks who need it. Now I spend summers at two wonderful programs called PALS, a program for teens and adults with down syndrome, and Camp Sunshine, a camp for children with terminal illnesses and their families. 
 
Daily lives are hard enough -- But when you add a disabilities, illnesses, economically deprived families, loved ones passing, or any other life event – the world becomes insanely difficult. These humans have to adapt to change their entire lives to fit this “normal” harder world- which will change their work, love, social norms to adapt and domino effects can make it harder. These people have to shut down businesses, lose days, weeks, months, and years trying to make it work. 
 
These events are never ending for some - It is so important to continue giving your time where you can and there are so many ways you can help! ESPECIALLY with this new app, Thropic! I am so excited because this technology creates a home and a community to connect and help everyone that chooses to be a part of it. I promise you being a part of programs and organizations will always help you more than you could have imagined in the long run. Choose to help, choose to do good, always.

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