Celebrating Success. It Takes a Village.

Duncan and I have admitted to each other time and time again that we are not very good at celebrating our successes. We don’t often pause, reflect on our work and pat ourselves on the backs for a job well done. Sometimes we high five, but most of the time we’re quick to say “That’s done. What’s next?” and move on without acknowledgment.

Our family of three in Ubud, Bali.

We became parents a year ago and have now become particularly bad at pausing. All the forewarnings we received from practiced parents turned out to be true. With a little human who needs us constantly, we have less time for ourselves, less time for reflection and less time to just breath!

The end of June marked the end of the Financial Year and CoH had a fantastic twelve months! At the same time, we celebrated our daughter’s first birthday. When these two very significant, but very different, milestones coincided a few weeks ago we took a breath. We reflected.
We felt proud.

Aura’s first birthday.

The arrival of our baby girl last June brought Duncan and me immense happiness. It also brought us sleepless nights, self-doubt and nappy changes. We went through the steep learning curve that every new parent has to go through, all the while keeping our ‘other baby’ (COH) thriving. To say we have had our hands full would be an understatement. Yet, in the same year that we became parents, we managed to have our best year ever at COH.

What does “our best year ever” mean? In terms of measurable results, it means we raised the most money in a year than we have in the past. $425,000 for children’s education. It means that we are building four brand new schools in rural Cambodia and distributing over 100 scholarships in Northern Bali. It means we’re continuing to support Child-Friendly Schools and STEM education in Cambodia.

The students and teachers of O’Romdeng Primary School say “Thank You!” O’Romdeng Primary School is the first of many new schools builds Classroom of Hope is funding in partnership with Child’s Dream. Photo by Geoff Bartlett.

Of course, we didn’t do this on our own. Incredible fundraisers have pulled off unbelievable things for Classroom of Hope this year (like The Bali Hope Ultra and the Ben Stocks Team in Perth…but that’s a whole other blog post) and we’ve formed new partnerships and had some new and wonderful volunteers join our team. As more people are coming to us, wanting to help, Duncan and I are learning to work smarter, to loosen our tight grasp on the COH reins and empower others to get involved.

Michelle, one of the 2018 Bali Hope Ultra runners, poses with the students of Tigawasa, Bali. These students will receive scholarships through our partner Bali Children Foundation, funded by the Bali Hope Ultra Marathon 2018. Photo by Shayna Pitch.

In many ways, becoming parents has been a catalyst to this new, expansive growth. We don’t have the time we used to have. We can’t do it all, and we no longer want to. We’ve come to understand the expression “it takes a village to raise a child” and we see now more than ever that it takes a team to grow an organisation.

In a world where success is often attributed to reaching goals and quantifiable results, of course, we feel proud when we see the numbers. But honestly, it is this subtler, less quantifiable outcome that has us smiling on the inside. People are raising their hands to join us. It’s the most humbling, exciting feeling!  We are growing, not just in funds raised, but in community and in reach. To us, that’s the real indicator of success. That’s something to feel proud of.

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