Our conference theme, Uncovering Your Purpose, Power, and Passion, was certainly exemplified this week in Memphis, TN. It was refreshing to hear from many attendees who said they enjoyed the Opening Session and that it set the mood for the entire conference.
Mr. John Croyle, our guest speaker and founder of the Big Oak Ranch, shared a great message with us on Sunday. As we meet with students and families, we can possibly take more time, pull up a chair, and really listen to their stories. The work that John and others do at the Ranch is something to which we as financial aid administrators can relate. We speak with students, often daily, who may have issues at home—abuse, hopelessness, neglect, or other trials great and small—that they bring with them to our offices and to our institutions. We become more than just staff that provides financial assistance. We become listeners. We remain calm—although, at times, that calmness may be difficult! We offer guidance, and if we are unable to assist, we then direct them to others who can. We provide the family that student may never have had. Too, we may be simply the friend the student needs--the person who can show that student, "I care about you. I will help you."
Thank you, SASFAA, for the outpouring of generosity that we showed Big Oak Ranch with our fund raisers at the conference. We raised over $2,600 to help Mr. Croyle and his family and staff to be able to continue doing their excellent work one child at a time. These funds will multiply in ways we may never see. May we all continue to share our purpose, power, and passion in our daily work.
I hope those of you who were able to join us for our annual conference have made it safely home. If you are traveling today, I wish you safety along your journey.