The time my friend’s dad loaned me fifty dollars

In my younger years I always kept my eyes open for opportunities that would help me grow in my career and my personal life and expand my world view. But I didn’t always have the resources to go after the things that would help me advance professionally or move me up the social ladder.

Whenever I saw an opportunity to learn more about something that I loved to do I always went after it. I didn’t always have options but I had aspirations. If aspirations alone could get you where you want to go, I would have arrived at that place decades ago.

When the deadline to apply to college was near I found that I couldn’t afford to apply to more than one school because of the admission fees. To tell the truth, I didn’t have the money to apply to one school. I talked it over with one of my roommates who suggested that I borrow the money from her father. He was eager to help. In a meeting in his office on Victoria St. at Dundas Square, he asked me how much I needed and immediately handed over $50. This may seem like a small amount of money but it made all the difference to me. It made me feel like someone was investing in me. 

Before long I delivered an envelope with $50 in cash in an envelope with a thank-you card and a bouquet of warehouse roses, a full dozen, to his office. No one had ever given him flowers before. He was thrilled about that but he was also happy for me when I told him I got into the journalism program at Humber College and proud that he helped me to achieve my goal. 

We need more opportunities for young people. We need older people with experience to invest in younger people who may not have the opportunities that some of their peers have so that they may reach the goals they set for themselves. One day I hope to in a position to pass on that kindness that was shown to me a million times over.

In the meantime, here are a couple of recent opportunities that may help you get to where you want to go in your career and in your life: Nordic–Canadian Fellowship in Environmental Journalism and Ad Age’s Young Creatives Cover Contest, a design competition that could land you on the cover of the Cannes Lions issue.

by Cherryl Bird – Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Twitter @ladycbird | Instagram @cherrylbird


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