February 10, 2018

Paying it Forward…

Have I Mentioned I’m Running for School Board?

As if I didn’t have enough projects already… Anyone who knows me personally knows this year has been a doozy. Last year at this time I had just helped my dad, who had Parkinson’s and advanced Alzheimer’s, move into a Board and Care home. My mother and I were learning my mom had advanced ovarian cancer, only a few months after attaining newfound freedom from being a care-giver 24-7. That year, I helped her get her things in order, cross of some final bucket list items and move on to a hopefully better place.

Then, literally at the beginning of this year, I got a call from my dad’s home that he was ill. He passed away just four days later.

As you can imagine, I’m still doing a lot of processing/grieving of my folks and especially my dad. This is a picture of him as a child in front of the home in Evanston. He’s holding his beloved cat Scroodaloonce. (I’m not really sure of the spelling?!?) Anyway, he was an only child, and he LOVED that cat. There were lots of stories.

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Now I’m looking at pictures of my girls at the very same age and wondering where the time has gone. Each fleeting moment is so special. There is no time to waste.

My dad taught me: Do what you love. Be of service to others. Create positive change in the world.

My grandparents parents provided, loved and nurtured them, so they in turn could do the same for my dad, who did so for me and now I do so for my children and theirs.
We are all a part of a beautiful chain. We can never truly give back what we’ve been given by our elders. But we can pay it forward to the next generation.

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I’ve spoken a lot about the legacy my parents gave to me. More than almost anything, it is an educational legacy. My mom grew up in public housing, my dad’s parents were not allowed to go to high school due to Jim Crow, and yet because of the investments their teachers made in them and because of public schools, they were able to become the first in their families to go to college and the first in their families to achieve a Doctorate level of education.

Celebrating Black History means honoring my connections to my ancestors and the sacrifices and service they have given so I can be here today.

I’m realizing that the reason I’m running for SF School Board is to be of service and pay forward on the investment previous generations made in me and my children. Investing in schools isn’t (just) about investing money, it’s about investing our time, love, and commitment to making the world a little better than the one we were born into. It is a great gift to be able to do this work.

So, this is why I’m running. This is why I do this blog. This is why I have been advocating for families the way I do.

Click here to learn more about my campaign, to get involved, or contribute.

And, THANK YOU dear readers, for following and sharing my posts, and for all the work YOU are doing to pay it forward in your schools.

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About alimcollins

Ali Collins is an educator, community organizer and mom. She lives with her husband and twin girls in San Francisco, CA.

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Anti-bias Parenting, Parent Power

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