One of the greatest rewards I get for volunteering as a member of the East Bay Waldorf School Board and the school’s Leadership Council is the gift of being present—a lot—on our 11-acre oasis of a campus. There is a sustaining in-breath of serenity and nature that comes from walking to the top of the steps. There is also an inescapable, and palpable sense of joy that comes from seeing, and hearing, and feeling children of all ages—our children—playing and learning and growing together. !
What comes along with this present of presence, when combined with a fair bit of dropping off and picking up, is the chance to be with other parents and other members of the East Bay Waldorf community, and to hear what’s on their mind. One of the things I hear most often is “I wish I could have gone to a school like this when I was young.”
And I always tend to answer with a wistful nod, and a “me, too.”
Lately I’ve been thinking that the answer is actually “you know what: we are going to this school!” It is true that the curriculum and our school are focused primarily on our
children, but because of the unique method and holistic nature of Waldorf education, and because of the powerful sense of community and communal purpose it engenders, we all—children, teachers and parents —undertake a collective journey toward a place of greater potential. We are all in this school together! And our school—East Bay Waldorf School—has room for all of us. Just as there is a place here at our school for each of our children, where they are met, held and grown from where they are to where they might aim to be, there is a place and a need for each and every parent here, to help our school be the very best place it can be, and to help ourselves be the best parents we can be.
Unlike many other things in life, the arc of this wondrous journey toward human flourishing—for our school, our children and for ourselves—is set by us with a relatively simple piece of human geometry: we go as far as we decide we want to go. And we show our work on and solution for that math problem by how much we invest in the effort…an investment of ourselves and our time and energy, and an investment of our hard-earned dollars.
And you have already made a substantial investment in your journey by finding East Bay Waldorf and paying private school tuition dollars. We respect and deeply appreciate that choice and we zealously guard that investment, spending it only on what we must to pay our teachers and house our classrooms and deliver our rich Waldorf program; we give a substantial portion of it back to the community in the form of tuition assistance. What is core is we deliver a strong return on investment: we provide a one-of-a-kind, individually tailored and highly enriched educational experience that sets our children up to pursue lives of learning and purpose. We give our teachers a modest raise, and we expand our program a bit each year; we repair our aging buildings and will aim to put up some new ones soon; in short, we make the most of what we’ve got.
Yet…we can do more…we can be more…if we all work together in this effort.
What truly determines the deflection point in our journey’s arc—how far we might go, how high we may dream—is the Annual Giving Campaign, this year aptly titled
“Together We Flourish.” Our yearly fundraising effort is an important marker of our community’s values and capacities. How much we raise and how much of our community participates is of great significance to internal school decision-making about strategic direction and financial expenditure—and it is the first item on the assessment list of external funding sources, as they calculate whether we are worthy of their investment.
Our dollar goal for “Together We Flourish” is $80,000…or $10,000 more than we raised last year. The math breaks down this way: we can reach this target if each family in our community contributes between $250 to $750. We recognize that some families will give much more than that, while for others, giving in this range will be too far of a financial stretch. One possibility to consider as you stretch to be in this range is that you can take monthly payments of as little as $21. Please give it some thought, and then give it your very best shot.
In any case, please give—complete community participation (100%) is compelling proof of our determination to reach for our highest selves. And with your donation, we can reach 100% of our financial goal and 100% participation in our Annual Giving Campaign. It is true, Together We Flourish!!
President, Board of Trustees, East Bay Waldorf School