Monday, November 15, 2010

Giving Back Retro-Style

There are always people in need. Some need food, others a home or a job, and some need an education. The list goes on and on and yet there are fewer and fewer people with the means or the will to help. So this holiday season, I want to take you back to the year 1959 when Elvis, bomb shelters, and giving to others were cool.

Judy Elizabeth Kendle had just finished up her first year as a college student of Eastern Kentucky State College. A resident of Dayton, Kentucky, she was a decent student, maintaining a B average, actively involved in her hall council, and had aspirations of becoming a third grades school teacher. However, Judy's dream would be short lived unless she came up with the $300 for next year's tuition ($300??!! I know what you're thinking..but this is 1959, remember?) . Desperate for funding options, Judy appealed to the president of the institution, Mr. W.F. O'Donnell.

President O'Donnell listened intently to his students. Above all else, he wanted to insure their success, which would insure the college's success as well. So when Judy pleaded to continue her education, President O'Donnell went to work on an ingenious plan. He knew that Keeneland had offered a full four-year scholarship since 1956. However, he also knew that due to the loss of Keeneland's tax-exempt status, Keeneland would no longer provide new scholarships. But, as fortune would have it (well, Judy's good fortune), the young lady who had won the scholarship the previous year had dropped out of school. Therefore, President O'Donnell instructed Judy to write an essay about why she needed the scholarship and extended the offer to Miss Judy E. Kendle. Judy accepted and because of the generous donations and thoughtfulness of others, was able to continue her education.

So give back a little this holiday season. Giving just a little may cause a huge amount of change for another. It doesn't have to be a scholarship. Put a few more bucks in a donation jar. Do something nice for someone else. Flash a smile. In the long run, you may end up helping many many more than just that one person. You could change a life. =)

(p.s. Judy's original essay is still in the archives in box 387 of the Robert R. Martin Papers.)

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