Tuesday, April 24, 2012

23rd birthday on the 24th

Other than hesitating for a few more seconds now if anyone asks my age, today has been and will continue to be a normal Tuesday.  I've got two private lessons to plan and teach tonight, then a paper to rewrite for one of my teachers.

But it's April 24.

My frisbee friends will be at an extra practice when I finish my private lessons, meaning I won't be seeing them today.  I'll see them tomorrow and Thursday, and I'm going to Barcelona with Hannah this weekend -- those are plenty of occasions to celebrate.  But I wanted to do something today.  So I decided I'd do something a bit different to celebrate my 23rd birthday.

I donated $23 to Ultimate Peace, and another $23 to Secular Student Alliance -- because I couldn't choose between the two.

Two years ago for Christmas my grandma donated money to a different organization for each of her grandchildren instead of spending the money on gifts (well, we might have gotten socks too...).  I really liked the idea, then last month I read a blog post about a 26-year-old giving $26 to SSA on his birthday.  These two experiences meshed together and materialized today.

If you're unfamiliar with either of these organizations, here's a brief  blurb about each:

Ultimate Peace 

Ultimate Peace uses the sport of ultimate frisbee as a tool to "build bridges of friendship, understanding and fun for youth from different social and cultural backgrounds around the world".  The organization hosts Arab, Jewish, and Palestinian youth at ultimate frisbee summer camps in the Middle East.  In November of 2011, Ultimate Peace expanded outside of the Middle East and hosted an ultimate training camp in Colombia.  Ultimate is the perfect sport for uniting people, and I hope this organization continues to grow and expand across the world.

Secular Student Alliance

The mission of the Secular Student Alliance (SSA) is "to organize, unite, educate, and serve students and student communities that promote the ideals of scientific and critical inquiry, democracy, secularism, and human-based ethics."  I was part of a SSA-supported student group at UW-Madison that let me hear some great speakers and meet new friends.  The summer after my freshman year in college I received a travel grant from the SSA to attend the 17th World Humanist Congress in Washington D.C.  The conference was wonderful; I met other humanists from all over the world, stayed at my first hostel, and found a group of people who shared my values and desire to better the world.

To anyone who would like to, I invite you to donate $23 to an organization you support, to celebrate my 23rd.

And now for some great birthday letters I got from students in a certain second grade class...

Dear Rebecca, I'm going to commuon I can't wait to eat
the yummy bread and drink the delishes wine...

I hope you will have the best 23 birthday.  I think you are nice, buitiful, and hard working.
Did you know my Golden birthday is comming up on July 8th.  Did you know...

This letter has drawings of wands, and much Harry Potter.  Awesome.

And maybe my favorite letter of all:

(Page 1) Dear Rebecca,
Happy B-day!  You are awesome!  I think U are very nice.
Mrs. T. must be the luckiest Mom ever to have such a kind and loving
(Page 2) daughter like U!  And I'm glad I know U!  It's so cool that U are in Spain.

The letters were all so nice!  A great surprise, thanks mother!

By the way, these students' teacher - my mom - was awarded the Relevant Radio Outstanding Educator of the Month Award in March.  Then, she was just awarded The Outstanding Educator of the Year for the Diocese of Madison (one of the six finalists from a pool of over 500 teachers).  Congratulations mom!

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