A Changed Life

Last fall, I met an MBA student at Arizona State University named Brian Laesch via twitter @blaesch.  At the time neither of us really realized how an apparently happenstance connection thru social media might lead to many people engaging in the fight to end extreme poverty.  Earlier this month, Brian hosted our tour team in Tempe, and he is currently in the process of organizing a “Be Hope To Her” event on the largest campus in the country.  Brian runs his own blog here and you should definitely give it a read.

I asked Brian to write a blog describing a bit of his own life experiences, the tour event, and how he and many others are making a difference at ASU.  What follows are Brian’s words, and I hope you are encouraged by them as much as I am . . .

 

I wanted to help. But even I didn’t realize how much I wanted to help until the Nuru Tour team showed up in Tempe, Arizona last Thursday, after driving all day from Albuquerque, New Mexico. After working for almost five years in Hollywood in TV/Film production (with a little acting and writing when I found time), I was burnt out. Mostly, because deep down inside, I knew my selfish pursuits were not fulfilling my soul. Sure, I had fun. But I wanted to do more. I wanted to feel that my work had meaning. I didn’t know how I wanted to do it, but I knew I needed to make a change, and going back to MBA School at Arizona State University seemed like a good first step in a new, positive direction. I had no idea that it would lead to me getting in contact with Nuru Grassroots Director, Billy Williams, through Twitter, after posting “The End” on my blog, and now helping to plan a “Be Hope to Her” event for ASU on April 13th. I’m not sure that I even knew that when I signed up to help coordinate the Nuru Tour stop. Somewhere in my mind, I figured I would do this, then just go back to studying for ridiculous amounts of time until I graduate. But now I know: Nuru is what I’ve been looking for. This is that opportunity to help.

 I’ll try to spare you the dramatics, but when I say that, I mean it. I’m extremely excited about getting involved with Nuru after Tiffany Newcomb, Derek Roberts and Lisa Hough came through and gave their presentation to ASU students in the John W. Schwada Classroom Office Building last week. I’m encouraged by what I saw, and I’m excited about the possibilities. A number of those students expressed interest and will soon be actively helping us put together “Be Hope to Her.”

Tiffany, Derek and Lisa provided compelling stories and videos and really explained how Nuru works. Afterward, we spoke with students who saw the event on Facebook, a listserv email, or an on-campus poster. And leaders of student organizations, such as Rachel Austin of Circle K International and Cate Marshall of the American Medical Students Organization (who both stepped up to make the tour stop a reality), also showed enthusiasm and prove to be a huge part of moving forward.

 After the meeting, the team and I were lucky enough to check out an on-campus screening of the new documentary, “God Grew Tired Of Us,” regarding four Lost Boys from Sudan who embark on a journey to America after years of wandering Sub-Saharan Africa in search of safety. For me personally, this simply added an extra shot of reality to the evening.

After the screening, I took the team on a tour of ASU’s famous (or infamous, depending on your view) Mill Avenue. We decided to eat at what is arguably the most “cultural” spot on the heavily-commercialized street (not that there’s anything wrong with that): Rula Bula Tempe Irish Pub & Restaurant. We had some fish and chips, listened to the live band, had some good discussions on a range of topics (including the possibility of dancing with a lady who had consumed too many pints), and that was that. They headed back to the Nuru Tour van (strategically parked on Apache Blvd. near a concentrated number of south campus dorms) and were off to the Grand Canyon, followed by San Diego. It was a quick trip, but overall, a great night and great stop on the Nuru Tour. I was glad to be a part of it.

 Please be on the lookout for ASU’s version of “Be Hope to Her” on April 13th here in Tempe, AZ. If you live in AZ, and would like to get involved, please contact me. We’d be very happy to have you be part of the event.  Interested?  Contact brian.laesch@asu.edu for more details.


 

About Billy Williams

Strategic Partnerships Director — As passionate about ending extreme poverty as he is about his home state of West Virginia, Billy developed a hunger for listening to and telling good stories at a young age. He received a BA in Chemistry and English as well as an MA in English from West Virginia University as well as an Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. As Nuru’s lead advocate and storyteller, Billy has been invited to share at events around the globe. If you are seated next to him on a plane, or trapped with him in an elevator, he’ll be sure to invite you to join our efforts, too.

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