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It’s A “Not I But We” Kind of Thing

October 22, 2013

The last I heard, I was considered a “lost angel” on the alumni website for St. Joseph’s Academy, the high school I attended in St. Louis, MO.

My junior year in high school my Dad was transferred to Stillwater, OK and I moved in with my grandparents in Warson Woods because I HAD to graduate from St. Joe’s.  It will take a book (coming some day) to explain what it was like living with my grandparents while in high school but let’s just say, after numerous calls to report in about my car being fixed or simply calling to say hi, the front desk at SJA got to know my grandpa very, very well…

photo 2

After graduating SJA in 2001, I left for UW-Madison and because my immediate family had moved, the trips to St. Louis became fewer and fewer.

photo 1Twelve years and roughly 10 plus moves, I guess    you could say I am a “lost angel.”  I have missed every reunion and there are probably only a handful of friends from St. Joe that I really keep in touch with…but they are the kind of friends that you can call once or twice a year and pick up right where you left off.

In the San Francisco Bay Area (where I live now), I continue to get quite the reaction when I tell people I went to an all girl, catholic high school…in the midwest.

But twelve years later, I couldn’t be prouder to be a SJA Angel.  It was a high school experience that I can only hope for my kids to experience some day.  There are people at St. Joe who yes, apparently touched my grandpa’s life, but touched mine and continue to stick with me.  Jen Bisch (It’s Carpio to me) was a teacher, a friend and a mentor.  Carol Campbell taught the Pleimann girls what community service and giving back was all about.  I think the number one thing I learned from both “Ms. Campbell” and “Carpio” (as well as other staff at SJA) is that some of the most important things you will learn don’t happen in the classroom.  It was things like our class trip to Costa Rica, volunteering on Thanksgiving, and my final project senior year that really opened my eyes and taught me what “Not I, But We” was all about.

And now, twelve years later, I am neck deep in two companies that I started and if I could copy SJA’s motto, I would.  Both of the companies, Vidapost and BuddiesInACTION, are about building a community and working together to improve overall health & wellness (BuddiesInACTION focuses on individuals with Intellectual Disabilities and Vidapost is a care coordination platform for those managing chronic conditions).  At Vidapost, we believe that every single one of us has a role to play in simplifying every care:  it is not solely the job of an individual managing a condition, nor the caregiver, or their primary doctor, but instead it is their entire network of providers, caregivers, family & friends working together.  At BuddiesInACTION, we are not just building professional health & wellness programs for adults with disablities, we are building a program that promotes inclusiveness and acceptance for their individual strengths and abilities and we need community support to make that happen.  It is a Not I, But We kind of thing.

Recently, I reconnected with a fellow SJ Angel, Erin (Slattery) Hopfinger to help grow and expand BuddiesInACTION.  The decision to partner with someone is not  always easy:  you have to be sure your mission, vision and long term goals align.  The decision to partner with Erin was an easy one – we have the same work ethic, goals and values and most importantly we’re in it together to laugh off the bumps in the road and celebrate every little milestone.  Or maybe it is simply the fact that we both believe, It is a Not I, But We kind of thing.

And now, to all our fellow St. Joe Angels, past and present, we would love your help and support.  There are a number of ways in which you can get involved and we really appreciate any and all help.  One or two people can begin to make a dent but as a community, we can knock down walls for individuals with disabilities.  It’s a Not I, But We Kind of thing.

Here’s how you can help:

  • Join Erin at Des Peres Park on Saturday, October 26th at 9am and learn more about what we’re up to.  Details here
  • Contribute to our Indiegogo Campaign and help us launch a scholarship fund (seriously every $1 counts!).  Click here
  • Follow us on Facebook or Twitter and help us spread the word!

Thank you in advance for your help and support and cheers to the “strong women, with strong values” who are making an impact inside and outside of SJA.

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One Comment
  1. Congratulations on all your success! You might not remember me, but I graduated a couple of years before you did (1999). Unlike you, I mostly stuck around the St. Louis area (mainly due to personal health concerns, in my case). I wish I was closer to those I was classmates with when I was at St. Joe, but there’s not a lot I can do now to change things from back then.

    I will say I was amazed at how open our teachers were, given we went to an all-girls’ Catholic high school in the middle of the country. When I told my husband (who I married six months ago, after four years together) the kind of information I learned or the stories I read–such as Edward Albee’s “The Zoo Story” in perhaps my favorite class I ever took, Literature of Controversy–his jaw dropped. And this is a guy who grew up not that far out of New York City.

    Glad everything is going well, and I’m glad you’ve founded a couple of organizations that are doing so much for so many people. Best of luck in all your endeavors.

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