Inspirational Commencement Speeches: Joyce DiDonato

Marilyn Gardner Milton’s Latest Blog Entry

I stumbled upon a list of the greatest graduation speeches of all time the other day. I spent the next few hours listening to all of these inspiring speakings and reflecting on the inspiration it provided to me. I couldn’t keep all of this inspiration to myself, so I’m going to write about it for all of you to read.

The first speech I listened to was by Joyce DiDonato, a great American opera singer. She spoke at Juilliard School’s graduation in 2014 to a class she named ambitious, adventurous, courageous, and talented. Her speech settled around the fact that no one truly ever knows where their journey will lead them, but if they rely on the four truths she’s learned throughout her career, one will always be able to find their center and reset themselves. These are the four truths.

1. You will never make it.
Her blunt delivery of this first, brutal truth took back the audience; however, she goes on to explain that this shouldn’t be interpreted as bad news, but instead fabulous, outstanding news. You’ll never make it because there is no “it.” If you’re always searching for the destination, you will miss out on the journey, and that is what life is all about. You hold an expectation so high in your mind that you will almost always fall short.

2. The work will never end.
Imagine being a student and hearing this dreadfully daunting truth at your commencement, after years and years of hard work. It’s intimidating. DiDonato reveals this truth to inform graduates that the work they plan to do after graduation can become overwhelming, whether it’s unexpected rapid success or heart-wrenching devastating failure. To find their center again, they must go back to the only thing that makes sense, their talent in their work. This is what will bring them solace and truth.

3. It’s not all about you.
This is a lesson many must learn the hard way, and it can be very humbling. Once you’ve learned to accept this truth, it’s empowering and freeing. DiDonato says “glory will always be transitory and will disappear as fleetingly and as arbitrarily as it arrived.

4. The world needs you.
Every individual in this world matters; no one is invisible. DiDonato reminds us to laugh, to play, to fly, and to stop taking everything so seriously. We’re all in this together, and we need to recapture the hope of living in peace with each other so we can thrive together in a vibrant way where each of us grows in wonder and joy.

from Marilyn Gardner Milton’s Website http://ift.tt/2E130pl

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Rajoy Hopes to Return Catalonia to ‘Normality’ With an Abnormal Election by RAPHAEL MINDER

A long-distance campaign for re-election by the ousted Catalan leader, Carles Puigdemont, highlights the unorthodox circumstances of the Dec. 21 vote.

Published: December 16, 2017 at 10:39AM

from NYT Europe http://ift.tt/2AXsqpC

Volunteering in Boston, Massachusetts

Marilyn Gardner Milton’s Latest Blog Post

The magic of this time of year often leads us to feel a personal responsibility to help others in need. Whether you’re volunteering your time or donating your hard earned money, the feeling of helping others is a feeling like no other. If you’re looking for ways to volunteer this holiday season in the Boston area, consider these local charities.

Christmas in the City (CITC)
This non-profit organization has been bringing smiles to the children of Boston since 1989. For the thousands of kids and their families who are experiencing the stress of poverty and homelessness, the volunteers of Christmas in the City, along with Santa, throw an annual holiday party to bring the holiday magic back and give the kids the “best day of their lives.” If you can’t fit this volunteering opportunity into your busy holiday schedule, the CITC hold fundraising events throughout the year for the next holiday season.

Boston Children’s Hospital
The vision of the Boston Children’s Hospital is simple: “Dream, Dare, Deliver.” With over 275,000 patients each year, this hospital dreams of curing each child, dares to ask the hard questions that don’t have an easy answer, and delivers with new ways of healing. There are many ways to give to help make a world of difference.

The Greater Boston Food Bank
As a member of Feeding America, the Greater Boston Food Bank has fed over 142,000 people on a monthly basis across 190 cities and towns throughout Eastern Massachusetts. Sign up to volunteer as a group or an individual to help work in the warehouses to inspect, sort and package foods for the hungry.

Cradles to Crayons
Cradles to Crayons is another non-profit organization looking to help the 400,000 children in the state of Massachusetts who live in poverty. They sponsor local drop-offs where people can donate their lightly used clothing, shoes, toys, and books. If you’re looking to volunteer your time, you can make a difference at The Giving Factory, where volunteers inspect, sort, and package the donated goods.

The Ebenezer Foundation
As one of the board members, this organization holds a place near and dear to my heart. The Ebenezer Foundation is a not-for-profit U.S.-based organization that provides aid to the orphaned children living in the city of Livingstone in Zambia, Africa. The foundation operates an orphanage, a school, a farm, and a community food program. If you wish to donate to this cause, you can visit the website here.

from Marilyn Gardner Milton and Volunteering http://ift.tt/2k2rJ3f