Today’s blog post is written by Elsa VanHove, one of CROSO’s Board Members.
Around this time each year, I – like many people – try to step back and reflect on the things I am thankful for. Especially this year, as our country reconciles with a divisive presidential election and as I face uncertainties in my own life, I recognize the need more than ever to reflect on blessings and focus forward.
One thing I am hugely thankful for is my civic life. The relationships I have developed with CROSO volunteers have become an unexpected place to find support and belonging. The larger CROSO community continues to grow as well, and as I think back to September’s annual benefit dinner, I am so taken by the open hearts and generous spirits of our attendees and donors. It is amazing to think about the impact this group of people has on our Scholars, many of whom have felt disenfranchised in their own communities. CROSO is one source of strength for our Scholars, and that reminds us of the value in continuing this project.
I am also thankful for my own education. My university experience allowed me to travel abroad and learn of the larger world and the ways in which people are similar. CROSO allows us to share the gift of higher education with our Scholars who also place the same value on learning and self-development, though they may not have access to the same financial resources many of us did.
Education does not end with school, however, and through interaction with our Scholars I have learned about new cultures, challenges, and opportunities. I have found common ground with Scholars who also hope to travel the world someday, who want to use their education to build successful businesses, and who love reading novels, playing sports and even volunteering in their hometowns. Our Scholars lead by example, and they set the pace with their perseverance, creativity, and determination to improve not only their own lives but the lives of those in their communities.
Thank you to everyone who has participated in CROSO this year through time, money, prayers, and all the myriad of other ways. This work provides purpose both to the Scholars it helps fund and to the people who support the organization. As you reflect on your year, I hope that CROSO – and the other organizations you support – can also be counted among the things for which you are thankful.