The first thing I see when I walk into my summer internship at ImpactTulsa each morning is the message “Welcome, Langley!” on my office’s whiteboard, written there on my first day by the ImpactTulsa staff. The enthusiastic positivity and conscientious inclusivity of those words have marked every part of my experience working with ImpactTulsa since that first day, from the staff to the mission of the organization itself.
It’s been an invaluable experience for me personally, as a college student searching frantically for what she might want to devote her life to, to witness the truly amazing work that a collectively minded nonprofit organization like ImpactTulsa does and the measurable ways in which its efforts better lives. A summer isn’t nearly long enough to learn about all the nuance of ImpactTulsa’s considerable, well, impact, but even just being exposed to the passion and energy of ImpactTulsa for such a short time has inspired me to strive to make a difference in kind, to try to facilitate the kind of change that ImpactTulsa endeavors to further in the lives of the often-forgotten and overlooked.
But equally as compelling as ImpactTulsa’s measurable, tangible, improved educational outcomes is its remarkable attitude. It represents a wickedly efficient form of progress, harnessing an old, golden idea- that of working together, of being stronger together- and couples it with purpose and accountability to achieve a revolutionary result. This collective impact spirit is incredibly inspiring and vital to the rapid progress of the educational climate in our community at large, which has been for some time in dire need of a breath of fresh air. ImpactTulsa offers that breath and promises many more: it aims, in time, to help the Tulsa area’s educational system breathe better on its own. It’s the hallmark of a truly altruistic organization to have the final goal of eliminating its own founding purpose. It’ll be a great day in Tulsa when there’s no longer a need for ImpactTulsa, and I can’t imagine that anyone will be happier on that day than the ImpactTulsa staff themselves.
The optimism of the staff here is infectious: I’ve caught the bug, and I hope to spread it. As someone who has been lucky enough to reap a large number of the benefits education has to offer, and who has felt the uplifting effect it brings, championing this cause of furthering, expanding, bettering and prioritizing education is personal to me. Education is opportunity distilled to its most concentrated form. It is independence, confidence, and most importantly, equality.
If we take care of our kids, and if we make sure that on every day from birth forward that they are supported, that they are encouraged to be the best they can be, that every child is shown that they as well as every other student deserve a fair chance at success, I firmly believe that we will be on our way to true greatness, to unity, to putting to rest many of the problems that so relentlessly fracture our communities. I believe just as firmly that it’s only a collaborative, compassionate, collective approach like the one ImpactTulsa promotes that will place us on that path. It’s been a privilege for me to witness the work of this pioneering organization for a summer, and I can’t wait to see the heights to which it will drive the Tulsa community in future years.