The winner of the FedEx Small Business grant contest is tomorrow.
We are excited to hear the winners because this could be the game changer that helps us to move forward on opening the healing center of our dreams this year. We are estimating our start-up costs to be about $50,000. We are starting with $10,000 already and this grant contest may put us as much as over half-way to our goal, allowing us to move forward on signing the lease and beginning construction!
Besides the over 2600 votes we received (thanks to YOU!), we needed to submit an essay. The limit was 3000 characters (including spaces), which is not much. We thought you'd like to see what we sent in. Here it is:
What should the role of a small business owner be in the community? How do you give back to or support your community today?
Successful business owners love what they do and are a model for the community. Business owners have the power to connect, inspire, and empower our community and in my opinion it is our duty to use our business to create positive change. That is the essence of Upward Spiral. I am blessed to make a living doing what I love while supporting healing and growth in my clients and the communities I belong too. The reason I am able to do this is because the community I proudly serve sees value in what I offer. In my service to them, the community often gives back to me. It is not a conscious exchange but rather what happens when we operate from a place of love. I would not be where I am today without a community that both supports and pushes me to grow, as I do the same for them.
For example, one afternoon of volunteer chair massage in 2007 at the James Haley VA Hospital led me to an unexpected specialty in treating Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI). I’ve now worked on 10 different TBI clients, two of which I’ve seen regularly for 3 years or more. Most of them are military veterans, but I’ve started to get referrals to the general TBI community.
One of my regular TBI clients is a young man who was shot through the head and survived; he can’t talk or move much voluntarily but he understands complex language and has a heartwarming laugh. I thought of the comedians that come to the Open Mic at Café Hey (a weekly open mic I’ve run since 2008). One day I thought, “Why don’t we get some of our comedians to come and tell him jokes?” On three occasions, 8 of these comedians took an afternoon out of their weekend to visit with this veteran and another TBI friend of his and made them and their families laugh for hours. Though both open mic and organizing an event like this are volunteer time, seeing the growth that happens in both the performers and the audience is my greatest reward.
Though I didn’t start open mic to enhance my business, I have made some really great connections there. I’ve also made some really great friends. Through open mic, I’ve learned about what a community is and how to build it. I’ve learned a lot about myself. I want to use this wisdom to build the Upward Spiral healing center we intend to this year.
With the recent growth of my business I’ve also been able to give back to the community by creating a few positions within my business. Now just a couple more people have fulfilling jobs they love and we work together to keep it that way. I look forward to opening up more jobs like this soon.
Through both my business and beyond, I get to witness the growth that Upward Spiral signifies in myself, in others and our community as a whole. I see that lasting changes happen in small steps and I know that if I at least helped put a smile on someone’s face, it’s been a good day. At the core of all my passions there is one common goal: helping other people be free to be themselves and live a happy life.