As a sports mom, nothing is more thrilling than the excitement of sitting in the stands watching that one serendipitous play when athletes make the “Give-and-Go” pass combination to beat the defenders and set up a sweet goal or a big Touchdown. This past year, I learned that life is a lot like that “give and go” pass. There is a saying, “the value of a life is always measured by how much of it was given away.” When we invest in others, we pass on our love and leadership. When we give to others, we teach people to see beyond our own world and our own self. And no different than giving or serving others, when a player is unselfish, giving a pass at the right moment to his teammate, one can hope that it usually ends up with a positive outcome.
For the past nineteen years, my husband and I have had the tremendous honor and joy of raising two sons and giving to them unconditional love, as well as to the best of our ability the necessary tools to be independent and successful in life. As most parents might feel dropping off their son or daughter at college, when we dropped our son off at Yale this past June for the start of his football conditioning on the Yale football team, we were filled with nervousness, excitement, a mourning of his childhood, and prayers that we equipped him for life successfully on his own. It was truly a special moment with our son. It was our moment as his trusted teammate, to apply the “give and go” technique, and trust that when we let him go, he will soar high. (Sadly, my “give and go” pass required a Kleenex, not a hockey puck or football.)
After tearfully kissing our son on the doorsteps of his beautiful residence hall as we said our farewells, I’ve had several opportunities since then to reflect on how I might practice the “give and go” move in other areas of my life and professional endeavors. Giving and letting go is not an easy thing to do. I’ve recently experienced the heartbreaking loss of a dear friend to cancer and have learned that life doesn’t give us what we prefer. She was a fellow hockey mom, and she knew the joys of the “give and go” pass. Laurie’s life wasn’t special because of the things she accumulated or by what she accomplished, but how much she loved, gave and empowered her children and friends, and invested in other peoples life. The Bible says, “They share freely and give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will be remembered forever. They will have influence and honor” (Psalm 112:9 NLT, second edition).
Eight years ago I founded Live Safe. Why? I wanted a personal way to give back, to serve, and to love others. I wasn’t doing this for the sake of accomplishment. In fact, many of my own friends don’t know much about Live Safe. I’ve done it quietly in hopes of influencing, advocating and caring for the community. Sadly, people don’t realize the true magnitude of fires and perceive fire safety as a non-emergency. Accidental fires have left numerous families bereft and heartbroken. And the sad truth is that many of these tragedies could have been prevented.
Since 2008, Live Safe, Inc., dba The Live Safe Foundation, an Ohio 501(c)3 non-profit organization, has been devoted to making fire safety education, awareness initiatives and life saving tools available on a broad basis to communities and campuses. The vision was to develop a volunteer organization dedicated to getting out the message of the need to prevent fires and loss of life and providing the tools for people to do this. I thought, if one person listens and takes the advice to heart, and into action, we’ve added value to their life and made a difference.
Since it’s inception, Live Safe has had the good fortune of volunteer assistance and some great partnerships. Without their support, we would be hard-pressed to have provided as much service, fundraising and programming that we feel our community deserves. We’ve applied for some tremendous FEMA grants and have had to suffer some tough rejections. Live Safe’s volunteers and its partner organizations have generously helped to advance the Live Safe mission. In support of varied fire-safety projects and other worthy charities, volunteers have donated thousands of hours of services to Live Safe and its partner organizations, such as, OSU’s Burn Center, Team Rise for the Phoenix Society, Christine Wilson Foundation, Christine’s Christmas, The Christine Wilson Burn Center at Children’s Hospital, Campus Partners, SFPE, CCFS, Columbus Fire Language Barrier Coalition, Leadership Dublin, and most recently to the Great Lakes Burn Camp.
Through the inspiration and leadership of our various volunteers, we have had multiple funding, special donors and programmatic partners (Live Safe with the ABCO Shatten Scholarship Fund). They either provided partial funding for programs (Partners in Prevention), or community services (Great Lakes Burn Camp, OSU Burn Center, Christine Wilson Burn Center, and other various community stakeholders). The diverse array of programs that Live Safe has supported has helped the people they serve, and through them, our community at large.
The past eight years have been busy and exciting in different ways. The Live Safe mission has continued to grow, bringing new and unique pilot programs, as well as a flagship fundraising partnership with ABCO Fire Protection. This past August 2015, Live Safe, successfully hosted its first golf outing, “The Stop, Drop and Roll the Ball Golf Outing benefiting Burn Camp”, raising over $20,000. Most likely each of us will remember the past year for different moments, personal growth, the successful golf outing, new relationships made, and those we passed up. For Live Safe, it was a remarkable year.
Live Safe’s “net” success is no different than that of a well executed “give and go” hockey play, it requires practice and dedicated teammates. Like sending off a child to college, saying goodbye to a dear friend too soon, or that player waiting for a pass or ball, sometimes it isn’t as easy as one can make it look, it’s really hard. Live Safe is a team blessed with great players (our volunteers) and has celebrated many wins and special plays (our programming), and like all teams, we have good and bad seasons.
So, as founder, pondering the future sustainability of Live Safe, the organization is approaching a critical time to make the “give and go” move. The Live Safe team is challenged for leadership, support, and the necessary momentum to maintain ongoing sustainability. Sustaining the non-profit requires ongoing dedicated volunteers, committed to advancing the mission – whether that be in helping to maintain the upkeep of our website, writing necessary blog articles, fundraising towards our scholarship fund or assisting with administrative support. Live Safe, it’s volunteers and supporters have given much over the years, and filling these responsibilities continues to be a challenge. While we are not closing the doors or going away, we are carefully evaluating the impact of letting go. As an organization, we’ve done our best to pass on our love and leadership. I trust that whatever that means for the future of Live Safe, it will hopefully leave behind a legacy of making a small difference.
In the meantime, I wish to thank all of our friends, Partners in Prevention and gracious donors for their support over the years. In life, we are always going to be tested and challenged, no matter the circumstances, and just like dropping off my son at college for the first time, we must practice the “give and go” technique and trust our investments and efforts will make a difference.
In this spirit of “Give and Go“, I sincerely say – “thank you” and wish you good health, happiness and prosperity in the New Year.
Get Safe. Stay Safe. Live Safe.
Jill Marcinick – Founder, President
Always, a fan! LET’S GO Yale Bulldogs & Ohio AAA Blue Jackets!