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#GivingTuesday: Freely you have been given, freely give!

One hot dog for three young persons' lunch? Broken into pieces as if it was Communion? Students working all year but not able to travel to show off their talents and efforts in all the forums locally and internationally that they received invitations for because of not having proper funds, resources or instruments? Instruments borrowed being taken back or falling apart right before local presentations and concerts?

This is what I found this fall as I visited my high school alma mater Rufo A.Garay to visit, speak and share motivational words with the graduating class and students of the same music band/orchestra that I had played in. This school, this band and my experiences there were all a major part of the catalyst for my migration to the United States, my educational fervors and ventures and the fuel and energy of these past twenty five years of being able to enhance, change and contribute to thousands of other children's lives here in the United States.

Five years ago I visited my city of birth, Colon, Panama and cried for the remainder of the next day due to its dilapidated conditions, both mental and physical. The next time I visited two years later, I found my high school building in disarray, weeds and rubbish all around. I purposed in my heart then as I had done over twenty five years ago that I had to now be a part of giving back and making a difference. While Panama City continues to flourish economically and even appears to look like a little Manhattan, Colon has been left behind. As many of us who have migrated know, simple conversations, mention of the problem or rhetoric, disgust and extensive social analysis means nothing in the long run, if something is not done. I want to cause impact and be a change agent. Waiting on the government or the powers to be will not create that change.

My response is to do something. Join me in doing something not just looking at or talking about it

JMR Coaching & Consulting Services, through YouMatter, my non-profit for youth with a focus on global awareness, mentorship and service along with other interested friends, colleagues, and other alumni of Rufo wants to unite hearts, expertise and resources to provide exposure, youth development and inspiration as well as practical concrete support with those who are there doing the best they can with the resources and skills they have for the students of Rufo A. Garay in Colon. We are looking to provide sustained continued support there, with your help, for this school in general as well as for those students of the band who have elected to find a different way of dealing and surviving their harsh realities through their commitment and diligent learning in music.

I am inviting you now to take an active part, to be the change you want to see, to make something happen and give.

Whether you:

1. were born in Panama or your family is from Panama,

2. are directly from Colon, Panama

3. graduated specifically from Rufo,

4.are from one of the other Caribbean, South American or Central American countries

5..are simply connected to a culture of band and musical liberation and exposure, or

6. just appreciate music and seeing children and youth receive as many exposures and opportunities to change and improve their lives and you understand music as one of those conduits, here is great soil to do so.

This message is for you.

On this day and during this season where we are all looking to receive, I challenge you on this Giving Tuesday to instead reclaim the season and give. We are looking to raise $5000, for our Phase 1 redevelopment and impact at Rufo A. Garay.

Here are four ways we invite you to join us in your giving.

1. Forwarding and sharing this message to every and anyone you believe may even be remotely interested in being a part of this solution. All over social media.

2. Contacting me directly by text or phone @ 347-510-9131, or email @ about getting involved in this project with your time, skills and contacts to address the needs as a part of this project

3. Making a donation today on my website of at least $20, $50 or $100 -of course, more is always appreciated- through this link via the buy now buttons so that we can begin to effect this change for the beginning of this year now.

4. If you are more comfortable doing so, you can also provide this contribution through my colleague's Mauro Montini GoFundMe option, being aware for those of you who are diligent about your resources that there is a 8% loss on the amount for fees for the use of GoFundMe.

Again, every contribution would be helpful as there is so much to do. Let's all be a part of giving back, of making a change and making something happen.

Thank you.

Judith Rapley

President, Executive Coach and Business Strategist, JMR Coaching & Consulting Services

Founder and CEO, YouMatter Inc.

(Pictures taken during Panama visits of my colleagues Emmanuel Drayton and Mauro Montini and I, this summer and fall in Colon and at Rufo A. Garay with the band and graduating students. Oh and a throwback to my band days :)

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