I Won The Lottery!

 In Blog

If you think this is in reference to the nearly $600 million jackpot won last night by a Floridian, well, in the words of Johnny Cash, “It ain’t me, babe.”

While the drawing was happening last night, I was sitting outside listening to the famous This American Life podcast about Harper High School in Chicago. Harper is a school I would really love to work with, so if any readers happen to have connections at this school, please help me get in touch with administration, K?

See, Harper isn’t exactly famous, more infamous. Last year, the school and it’s community were touched by over two dozen shootings. There were, surprisingly, eight deaths from this violence. This American Life:


embedded a handful of reporters in the school for three months to learn what it’s like to live with the threat of violence hanging over students’ heads every single day. Many students interviewed said they only feel safe when they are in school or inside their homes. Not walking to school, not on their front porches, not hanging out around school, but only inside the building. Bullets fly with such frequency that some students don’t attend school because they are simply too afraid of the walk to and from home. This is sheer craziness, don’t ya think? Kids who want to go to school but do not out of fear of death. Horrible.

The radio show interviewed a social worker at the school about what she’d love to see happen there. She knows she can’t change the whole community, but she dreams about what programs, technology and personnel she would have if money were no object. She spends time dreaming of what it would be like to win the lottery. And what does she wish? Nothing for herself, just the resources to combat the problems in the school and community. Things like hiring extra support staff to be the boots on the ground people around school who know the kids and can spot problems before they arise. Technology for every student so they’ll have something to do to help their education. Again, nothing for herself, just her school and students and educational professionals.

Because last night’s lottery drawing was like the second largest in history, I’ve gotta imagine the millions of folks who bought tickets have been thinking what they would do with that kind of wealth, too.

While I didn’t even buy a lottery ticket, I’m not above the circling thoughts of fortune that could come with winning. What would I change? What would you change? What would you buy? What philanthropies would you support? If that $590 mill plopped into your bank account, what would you do?

If money were no object, I don’t think I’d change much at all. I have an incredible family with whom I love spending time. I do that already. I have an incredibly rewarding career I can’t imagine not having. I have a beautiful home that fits all my needs. While I could stand to lose a few pounds, my health is, overall, pretty darned good. As is that of my family. In retrospect, I have what I love and love what I have. Because I love my career so much, I could never, ever think of just not doing something. And what would you do if money were no object? Thankfully, I would do what I do. I would then be able to do it for even more people. I could hire some extra staff folks to do the heavy lifting and office work so I could concentrate on doing what I do best; speaking and writing. I would spend more time with my family and we would participate in chairitable opportunities so we could help others. In short, not much would change. To have this kind of life means I have, in fact, won the lottery.

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