Labor Day Challenge – Day 31 – ODSA Fall Summit
Welcome back to my Labor Day Challenge. Friday I went to the ODSA Fall Summit. This was a great opportunity for TRiO personnel in Oklahoma to meet together and discuss the state of our association and programs. I’ll be honest, things are tough in TRiO right now, especially in OK. We serve tens of thousands of students in the state, students who need our services. These students are the first in their family to go to college, they are low-income, and they more often than not a minority, working part or full-time, living with someone other than their parents or on their own. We have high school students who are homeless, college students who try to support their family while being in school, and students who need tutoring and advice just to get their college degree.
Last week we found out that some of our most prominent programs lost their funding, and it is very hard. Not only did our colleagues lose their job, but over 1,000 students lost a support system that would help them achieve their dreams. President Obama and congress have decided to either cut funding or provide level-funding for our programs, even though most in congress admit we must get kids into college. They are cutting off their nose to spite their face. Things are tough, but we will survive.
Jerrod Murr, founder of Believing in a Better Way, delivered a passionate and inspiring speech to the association, telling us how to find motivation in our everyday life. He said that we are the “facilitators of dreams.” He told us that we are the ones who create change in our students lives, we are the constant voice of support that helps them move forward in life. After his speech I was ready to go meet with some of my students to help them achieve their dreams.
I am impressed by our leadership in ODSA. Scott Cady, our president, is strong and fair, and continues to stand up in the face of adversity to lead our association. The members of our programs are passionate and motivated to help our students create a change of culture in their families. I am inspired by my colleagues, men and women who do whatever it takes to help their students. I am excited about the future of ODSA and TRiO, I know we will not be defeated, we will not be silent, and we will triumph. TRiO Works.