Are you a Risk-Taker?

For those of you who haven’t met me or seen me around school or at a special event, my name is Rachel – I’m the Director of Development at SLLIS.  Sometimes, my title scares people because they think I’m only here to ask them for money.  That’s partially true (really, I try to not ask on the first date!), but I get to do lots of other fun things like community outreach, our signature special events – Soiree, Trivia Night & Night of Celebration, the Compass newsletter, our Annual Report, friendraisers, volunteer engagement, help teachers write grants and generally, build relationship with people who want to support the work SLLIS does every day for our students and community.

I grew up in St. Louis and as most of you know, there wasn’t a school like SLLIS around. I came to SLLIS in the fall of 2011 from my previous role working in development for an internationally recognized nonprofit organization.  Coming to SLLIS was a risk for me.  But it was an opportunity to build something new and wonderful for our community and I knew I had to take it.

I am constantly surprised by how BRAVE our students are. Our teachers encourage them to ask questions and take risks everyday, knowing that many times, our children will fail.  How scary is that  – the fear of failing EVERY DAY? It terrifies me. But our students are fearless. Failure isn’t scary to them – it’s just part of the learning process.  When asking a group of 5th graders about taking risks, they said:

“I am a risk-taker because I try new things and raise my hands during questions.”

“You have to be a risk-taker, because life is full of risks.”

“I am a risk-taker by helping out and trying not to be shy.”

I was a shy kid. I HATED raising my hand… and often, I wanted to hide under my desk if I didn’t know the answer.  So I absolutely LOVE the fact that I spend my days raising money & resources for our 875 risk-takers. I am sharing this with you because we are getting to the time of year where charitable giving peaks.  You’ll be getting a lot of mail from lots of organizations and causes seeking your support. A letter from Rhonda, our Founder & President, is headed your way.  I hope you take a minute to read our request and consider making a gift before the end of the year. We have a goal of $582,000 to raise this year and every contribution helps.

So I encourage you to make a gift on line or drop a check in the mail.  And of course, you can ALWAYS contact me with questions – Rachel.dsouza-siebert@sllis.org or 314-633-8318.

Thank YOU for being part of our wonderful, growing community!

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