I’ll be honest, this one really snuck up on me. It almost seems impossible that it was four years ago today when the idea for Tailored for Education began to take shape. It happened fast (Jess and I have one speed…we are works in progress) and those first few weeks, days, months were pure bliss. The mix of excitement, determination and just the right amount of naivety pushed us out of our comfort zone and into a whole new world! We loved every minute of it. Our friendship also grew. It was like we were keeping a secret from everyone….we were going to make a real impact on the world. Our dreams were BIG.
Now four years later I am happy to say that our dreams are still BIG (probably even BIGGER) and our goals loftier. What we do WORKS. We change the life of each child we provide with a new uniform. The children we help go to school, stay there, get up the next day and go back. As co-founders we are different people than we were four years ago. We have a clear goal with numbers and stories to back it up. We’ve traveled to the countries were we work. We’ve met the children we help. We’ve learned their favorite classes and what they want to be when they grow-up. We’ve let them touch our freckles because they learned about them in science class, but had never seen them in person. We’ve hugged their grateful mother’s and met the siblings they care for when school is done. We’ve raised over ONE million dollars and provided more than 20,000 uniforms in 11 different countries. While the bliss of four years ago was nice, this is real. We are doing what we set out to do and I couldn’t be more proud of what we’ve built.
This reality has brought its fair share of trials. While they are fewer than many would have expected, each one has been tough for us. Raising money is extremely hard. Despite our best efforts there are still only 24 hours in each day, we both wear a lot of hats and things fall by the wayside. Expanding our base comes with rejection, which is unpleasant. The naivety of those early days has been replaced with some seriously tough days.
Through the highs and the lows of the past four years we have grown. We are better than when we started, as are thousands of children and their families around the globe, and we are well positioned for many more years of success! However, there are still millions of children not enrolled in school so we have just scratched the surface.
Our success thus far would not be possible without the support from our donors. It is because of you that there are more children going to school than last year! Also, it is because of your encouragement that we move through the hard days and celebrate the great ones!
Kristen, Claire and Dave: we don’t thank you enough for your hard work and your love of Tailored for Education. We are forever grateful you are part of our team and put up with us. Jess, thank you for saying yes four years ago. Tailored for Education wouldn’t be here without you!