[Post written by Hillary Gerig, TomTod Board Treasurer. Hillary is an Accountant IV at First Energy and adds spunk and financial insight to TomTod.]
I admit it. I am an emotional woman. And by emotional I mean, I cry a lot. I really hate falling into that stereotype, but the more I rebel against it, the more true it seems to become. I find my eyes welling up at commercials, reality shows, and even during the montage of “One Moment in Time” at the end of the NCAA basketball championships! That just can’t be normal, can it? Sometimes I feel like I have this reaction to anything I see that is kind or generous or loving because there is so much of the opposite in the world that it really affects me when I see acts of kindness and compassion. Or, even just general happiness and celebration for someone who has trialed through so much. I volunteer in the café at my church and a few weeks ago I was ringing up the order of a family who appeared to be new to the church. One of the family members was a young man who was wearing his ROTC fatigues. As they were getting ready to pay, the man behind them in line stepped in and offered to pay for their entire order as a way of saying “thank you” for their son’s decision to serve. The mother was clearly shocked, yet grateful. Tears welled up in the back of my eyes immediately and I had a really hard time completing the sale without letting them all come flooding out. I was moved by his kindness because, let’s be honest, overt kindness like that is few and far between these days. We’re constantly surrounded by hustle and bustle and self-centeredness, and kindness and compassion gets lost.
But then there is TomTod Ideas. One of TomTod’s core values is Compassion and Justice – we seek to enter into a broken world, equipped with love and selflessness, to create hope and repair. Boom. It hits me so hard every time I read it and it’s what I love most about being a part of the TomTod team. What’s more is that TomTod is trying to bring these values into the forefront of the minds of middle school students. That is no easy task! At the risk of sounding cliché, these students are our future! What WE sow into them now, WE will reap later. This past summer I attended the community celebration for the Canton Dreamoratory and got to hear about the projects that the teams of middle school students created in just one week. I was blown away by the creativity and the others-centered focus of each of the projects. Several of the projects were aimed at repairing a broken world and helping those who are not equipped to help themselves. Needless to say, I was brought to tears! (shocking, I know) When I was that age, I was more interested in re-runs of “Charles in Charge” than I was with developing an idea that would positively impact a community. Scott Baio may have had the good looks and charm, but he was never going to inspire me to change the world. It was at the end of those presentations that I really understand what TomTod was about and why I was a part of it. I’m hopeful that someday kindness and compassion will run so rampant that I won’t even feel the slightest sting of oncoming tears when I see it lived out in front of me. I owe a piece of this renewed hope to TomTod and I look forward to what is to come.