If I had to list ten things that terrify me the most, pitching First Teacher to a loud – very, very loud -- dark room of 2000 drinking people would probably be number 5 or 6 on that list. Would it be degrading? Would anybody care? Would people be dismissive? Would it feel like we were begging people who didn’t really get what we do?
But courage is contagious, and people never cease to prove me wrong.
On Thursday, April 7th, at TUGG’s 10th Annual Wine and Tequila Party, as we competed with other young non-profits for $50,000, the First Teacher team was brimming with courage, and the crowd was genuinely invested in our First Teacher movement. And the most unlikely of pairs formed authentic connections. Josette Williams, a long-time Roxbury resident, Program Manager at Countdown to Kindergarten, and First Teacher’s Advisory Council Chair, loved talking with sweet and shaggy-haired Michael Moore from Visitdays.
By the time we were announced as co-winners with Thrive we were exhausted, and our throats were sore from yelling over the music. The chip on my shoulder was significantly smaller, and we were buoyed by people’s love for us and support of our First Teacher movement. As Dominque Graham, First Teacher parent said, “I realized people here do believe in our work.”
At a time when it feels like our world is getting more and more divided between the haves (so much) and the have-nots, our night with TUGG filled our whole team with genuine gratitude. This money, with no strings and lots of trust, will propel our movement in ways we simply wouldn’t be able to without it, as well as open very connected doors that will help the First Teacher movement thrive.
Thank you to the whole TUGG crew, especially @zoeanetakis, and including Ryan, Sarah, Elizabeth, and Jeff, for inviting us to the craziest, most lucrative event we’ve ever attended. It was an honor to be representing with other awesome organizations: