I’m a wife, a mom, and a grandmother (affectionately known as Grammy by my grandgirl Cierra). A typical day starts at 7:00 AM and concludes around 8:00 PM, working Saturdays, and participating in lots of evening events – a similar schedule to many of my arts advocacy colleagues. Work and family are what I eat, breath, and sleep. Most of the time one is as important as the other and each have their distinct needs and rewards.
On April 26, 2010, my world came crashing down around me when our 31-year-old son TJ died. It isn’t supposed to happen this way. Parents should not bury their children. Through TJ’s death, our grieving, and our memories I now see the world through different lenses. Simple things are more valuable, time is critical, making contacts a necessity since we’re not sure how much time we have, and telling our stories is essential to our future.
I rarely reflect, and until recently didn’t remember, why or how I got into the arts and arts education advocacy business. Thinking back on TJ’s life reminded me that he was the reason.
TJ was our theater and music kid. His brothers Josh (the athlete) and Ryan (the dreamer and reader) offered up other ways to get involved as parents. But theatre and music programs require a special kind of parent volunteer. You have to fight for the music and drama programs in schools. You have to raise money and pay for band camp. You have to work on levy campaigns to protect arts education programs. You have to take long bus rides to get to Disney or a special by-invitation-only parade. You have to pay a special facility fee to keep the theater open late for Friday night’s show and Saturday’s matinee. You have to drive five kids to the next concert so the show choir can perform at the retirement home. You have to compete for time and resources with the athletic boosters and PTAs.
TJ knew about advocacy! Read the rest of this entry »