Practicing Love

March 2016. If you asked me then what my March 2017 would look like, your guess would’ve been as good as mine. As I reflect on my past 10 months as a Newman’s Own Foundation Fellow at SeriousFun Children’s Network, I’m incredibly grateful for the learning, relationships, and opportunities that I’ve stumbled upon.

I say “stumble” because much of this year, especially early on, felt clumsy — like I stumbled off of a college campus and into “young adulthood”. At times, it’s been an isolating transition. Friends went from a short walk away to different cities; I moved from an apartment of peers to my childhood home; a campus of 20,000 people suddenly shrunk to an office of 25; I went from a schedule I dictated to a routine commute.

Amidst the highs and lows of this transition, the NOF Fellowship experience has been the opposite—a source of guidance. I’m glad to have a team of people at the ready, willing to lend an ear, a hand, a heart—whatever is needed most. To the team at SeriousFun, the cohort of NOF Fellows, Diana and Newman’s Own Foundation, thank you! You’ve become a support system within this changing landscape.

Every few months, when we come together as a cohort of 13, I marvel at the bonds created, not without differences of opinion or experience but rather with and through them. And I leave recharged with shared understandings and fresh perspectives, from people who choose to practice love even when it’s difficult.

What’s more clear for me than ever is how important it is to find others who build you up. You’ve heard it a thousand times, I guess because it’s true. It’s those people—at the office, at home, and now across different cities—who have made all the difference for me this year. Actually, it’s very much what SeriousFun camps and programs are all about.

There was a moment during our last fellowship retreat where we went around the room, sharing what we were excited for next personally and professionally. After each person spoke, others commented on what they had heard. And I heard an awful lot of thoughtful, encouraging, authentic words. But that doesn’t do it justice. Really, I heard a lot of love. That light and love is what I hope I can carry with me in whatever work lies ahead (because we’ll likely need it!), so thank you for fostering it, cherishing it, and sharing it along this journey.

-Sarah

The featured photo contains some of the Fellows at the Newman’s Own Holiday Party back in December. I’m standing tall in the back!