This is Justin, my dear friend. He is an extraordinary person, and not just because of that wild and unruly mane of red hair. He is a talented musician who plays the stand up bass. He is equally at ease playing classical music with a 300 piece orchestra or jamming under the stars in an open air jazz bar into the wee hours. He loves to cook. He comes to our house a lot during football season, arms laden with purchases from Costco, heads straight to the kitchen and starts chopping, banging and frying away happily, eventually emerging with a vegetarian feast far too big for just the three of us. His burritos are to die for. He is bold, brash and loves a good debate, especially if he gets to play devil's advocate.
But most of all, Mr. Brown is an unbelievably passionate and devoted teacher. His regular duties include teaching math, a course in A.P Comparative Politics and serving as the school's CTE coordinator. (Nope, I don't know what that stands for.) In addition to all that, he finds time to manage the Debate Team, Model U.N and of course, his baby, the Kealakehe Robotics Team, The Tiki Techs.
He can write a killer grant and has personally raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the school. He spends most of his waking hours planning lessons and coordinating trip details including chaperones, airline tickets, busses, hotel reservations, and engaging food and entertainment for anywhere from 8 to 16 teenagers. He is constantly spearheading fundraisers and events to help connect his kids and the community at large. He is busy giving his students amazing opportunities and setting them up for a lifetime of success.
I love this man. Just as he is. But I've wanted to cut off his ponytail from the moment I clapped eyes on him. Just to see what he looks like underneath the mane. I've been nagging him about it for three years now. I've peppered him with questions about what his hair means to him. I've promised to braid it. I've told everyone we know that he's already agreed to the big cut. I've wheedled him with stories of all the ladies who will be infinitely more interested in him without the hair. All my efforts in the direction of a head to toe makeover have been steadfastly ignored for three years.
Until I promised him $2,000 for his Robotics Team.
That's all it took.
I have no doubt that I can count on your (tax deductible!) donations to this cause, which is worthy on three levels:
Firstly, The Kealakehe Robotics team encourages American kids to study math and engineering, fields that are sure to expand exponentially in years to come. These students will help our country to remain strong and competitive in a global economy driven by technology and innovation. As Mr. Brown will tell you, it's an expensive program to run, especially with a team as successful as his that needs to travel from Hawaii to the mainland and across the world to compete with teams with far larger budgets. The students' goal this year is to raise $10,000 in total, but it costs a lot more than that to run.
Secondly, Mr. Brown's impressive ponytail will be donated to Locks of Love. I'm sure you've already heard of this charity, which uses donated hair to create real hair wigs for children fighting cancer. In many cases, these expensive natural hair wigs are far out of reach for families whose medical expenses outstrip their incomes. It makes me smile to imagine this wild mop of a ponytail turned into a glossy red wig for a brave little head.
Lastly, I believe in my heart that this would be an amazing gift to Justin himself. I think it's so easy to give endlessly and ignore ourselves. The older I get, the more I am discovering the value in pausing to find center and be kind to myself. I find I am better to everyone around me when I care for myself, but it isn't always easy to do. I'd like to show Justin that he deserves to feel handsome and sharp. That he deserves to be the impressive, brilliant, funny and wonderful person that he is on the outside as well as on the inside. That everyone should have a chance to get to know the extraordinary person that I know.
So here's the thing. We've set a date for this fundraiser. I have about 60 days to raise $2,000, plus a little more to take him shopping, and get him that all important haircut and shave. Just 60 days to plan an event that will get the whole community to the high school to give this Robotics Team a Pep Rally to rival that of any Football Team.
Can you help out? Please donate anything you can- $10 at a time will get us there! I will personally make sure that you get a receipt, a thank you (leave me your address if you'd like getting snail mail!) and an update on the "After"! Email me at thefabulousmissbATgmailDOTcom and I'll send you an invoice for whatever amount you'd like to contribute.
Thank you friends!