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Gallagher: Join the mission of discovery

R.J. Gallagher Jr.
Philantopia

“Children are great imitators. So give them something great to imitate.” — Unknown

About a month ago, I was boarding the direct flight from Aspen to Los Angeles on my way to our projects in the Napa Valley. Work. Work. Work. Right?

I settled into my aisle seat and waited patiently for the boarding process to be completed. Time was ticking, and I was thinking I just might be that lucky passenger, who on that very rare occasion, has a “no show” seatmate. It was looking like it would be my day to beat the odds and revel in spreading out within the luxury of my own row. The flight attendant was closing the door, and it was looking like the travel gods were on my side. But within an instant, that all changed, and here she comes. Marcy is in the house.

One thing about Marcy is you hear her before you see her, and without hesitation, you know immediately that she has entered into your life. As you will come to see, that’s a good thing. Actually, a great thing.

Within a minute, Marcy had me managing her carry-on bags. She rearranged the seating area and made direct eye contact with me. She shook my hand with a strong grip like a hedge-fund manager would do after the big deal was finalized and said, “I’m Marcy, what’s your name?” I’m immediately thinking, “Where are my headphones?”

Wheels up and we are headed west. Within minutes, Marcy and I had already discovered the commonality that we have with numerous folks in Aspen. That one degree of separation thing that Aspen promotes like no place other. Marcy is a pied piper. She engages and enlightens. No need for my headphones on this flight. I’ve got stereo Marcy. Turn up the volume.

Dr. Marcy is a psychotherapist, with more degrees than IPAs I had the previous night. She received her bachelor of arts from Northwestern University, her master of social work from Loyola University and her doctorate from the Institute of Clinical Social Work in Chicago. She currently maintains a thriving psychotherapy practice in Los Angeles, focusing on holistic health and well-being for individuals, couples, and families.

I know what you are thinking right about now. What could Marcy and I possibly have in common? The answer is: giving back. Marcy is the founder and executive director for CMomA, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that advocates for orphaned children in need.

The birth of CMomA was inspired by the sociological shift within American culture, as the numbers of women without children are more prevalent than ever. For many, there is heartbreak over the void of not having a child while trying to discover where to direct their energy. The CMomA mission shines the spotlight on this population of women, acknowledging the “mother” within each one of them.

CMomA is quite possibly the one and only nonprofit of its type in the world. Their mission is to be an advocate to orphaned children who are in need of loving support, through adoption, hosting, mentorship and sponsorship. Their unique vision is to promote the connection between these kids and individuals and couples without children, whether by choice or circumstance.

Initiatives and support include an active community connection, continuing education and relevant resources. They provide financial grant assistance to eligible childless single women, men and couples who choose to adopt disregarded older or special-needs children. They also offer transitional support to these new families by sponsoring post-adoption parenting education provided by its organizational partners.

They also facilitate volunteerism trips, combining touring sacred sites with spending quality time at a chosen orphanage in that region. By doing so, they give the participants an opportunity to explore possibilities for fostering ongoing relationships with the children with whom they feel an organic connection. If you would like to join their next volunteerism trip, there is an unbelievable journey that has been planned for the end of November to mid-December to Peru and Ecuador.

In Peru, you will spend a week at Ninos del Sol (“Children of the Sun”), a group home for orphaned children and teens. Accommodations will include local fresh, nutritious meals and daily wellness programs. You will visit historic and breathtaking sites in the Sacred Valley, the Inca Capital of Cusco and the ancient city of Machu Picchu.

In Ecuador, you will spend a week connecting with orphaned children in Cuenca. Touring will include getting familiar with this capital of the Azuay Province as well as seeing historical and famous sacred sites surrounding this beautiful city.

The overall goal of this Volunteerism Journey is to connect with children in need, enjoy the companionship of like-minded, big-hearted individuals who love kids, seek adventure and feel the call to be of service. If interested, you can reach out to Marcy at http://www.drmarcycole.com or visit the CMomA Journey website at http://www.cmoma.org/journey.

Seatbelts buckled and tray tables need to be in their upright and locked position. Marcy is ready for takeoff. Is it time for you to reach for the sky and join Marcy on a mission of discovery? Lives are changed for the better every day because of special folks who stand tall and make a difference. Marcy is one of those special folks.

“Philantopia,” is a monthly column of The Aspen Times focused on philanthropy and community involvement. R.J.’s always open for ideas. You can reach him at rjg@forteinternational.net


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