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Finding the Good and Feeling Grateful During Trying Times

by | Nov 24, 2020 | Miscellaneous

Here at the Barron Prize, we’ve been reflecting on all the reasons we’re feeling grateful, despite the current challenges. We’re thankful for our families, dear friends, good health, and the communities we’re a part of. We’re also deeply grateful for all our young heroes and the enduring ideals they demonstrate – things like compassion, commitment, generosity, and courage.

Below, we share reflections from several winners who serve as judges on our Selection Committee, who wrote about what they’re grateful for this year. We’ve also included a lovely Thanksgiving message from Barron Prize founder T. A. Barron. Warmest wishes to everyone during this season of gratitude!

I am grateful for the characters in my life who inspire me every day to be my best self, dream big, problem solve with grace, to love, to play, and to laugh, and for the ability to connect with and build relationships with friends (new and old), family, and colleagues in creative ways.

I am grateful for the magic of the natural world, from the small milkweed fluffies to the high mountain tops, and the wild public lands that provide such grounding, wonder, beauty, reflection, joy, and inspiration. I am grateful for the power of the individual and collective voice to evoke change on all scales. I am grateful for my health and body and the health of those I love dearly. I am grateful to be part of this wild world.

Phebe is a 2006 Barron Prize winner. At ACES, she creates programs and supports the education staff as they share the wonders of the natural world with students of all ages.

Phebe Meyers

Community Programs Senior Manager, Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES)

During these challenging times, I feel an overriding sense of gratitude for my family, both near and far. I am grateful for my husband, who has been a loving and resourceful partner throughout 2020. I am so thankful for the health and loving hearts of my two little girls. And I am grateful for my daughters’ grandparents, who have been right by our sides even from afar this year. The experiences of this year have made me feel even more inspired by and grateful for moms all over the world, who will move heaven and earth to make sure their families are loved and cared for.

Ashley is a 2001 Barron Prize winner. She currently runs a consulting business focused on strategy development and operations design, with a focus on work that sits at the intersection of education and career.

Ashley Shuyler Carter

Consultant

This year has been one of appreciation, despite the various changes and obstacles that have confronted me. I truly appreciate every word of encouragement that I have received throughout these trying times, and just being able to connect with people through a common need for a sense of hope, joy, and goodwill within our society. I am also grateful for health, family, and the good people who are a part of my life.
Shawn Henry

Program Director, VOYAGES Preparatory High School, South Queens

2020 has been a grueling, unforgettable year. I’m thankful for the friends and mentors who got me through difficult times and transitions. My uncle and greatest cheerleader was in the hospital for over forty days with Covid 19. He was the hospital’s first patient to make it off the ventilator. This Thanksgiving, I’m especially grateful that he’s home and for all of the lessons he’s taught me over the years.

Madi is a 2011 Barron Prize winner. She is pictured with her aunt and uncle in Cambridge, UK.

Madi Vorva

Production, Tamron Hall Show

If nothing else, 2020 has shown that we can take the mundane for granted. Simple events like meeting up with friends, carpooling, and cooking, which once felt almost chore-like, have suddenly become special again. On that note, I am especially grateful for the ability to have quality time at home right now. I’m used to getting on a plane every week, and it has been absolutely blissful to be home in the evenings.

On one such evening, I re-watched a favorite film of mine, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.” It is based on the true story of Mr. Rogers and his journalist friend, Lloyd Vogel. I was reminded of the relevance of one of Mr. Rogers’ famous quotes: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'”

With so much stress and anxiety in our world today, it’s difficult to stay afloat in a positive way. Yet, I am reminded to look for the helpers — the helpers who do ‘big’ things and also, the helpers who do small things, like calling on a friend to check in. To all of these helpers, I am more grateful than ever. Thank you to all at the Barron Prize, for honoring and fostering our young helpers who are truly heroes!

Michaella is a 2001 Barron Prize winner. ViewRay is the leader in technology and innovation for radiation oncology and cancer patients around the world.

Michaella Gallina

VP, Chief of Staff, and Head of Investor Relations, ViewRay

Thoughts on Gratitude and Thanksgiving

T. A. Barron, Author and Founder of the Barron Prize

My friends, this is a different kind of Thanksgiving for us all. With the many troubles that surround us — affecting our own health and also our families, our communities, our country, and the environment of the planet that supports us and all living creatures — it’s hard sometimes to feel thankful. But in truth, it’s more important than ever to remember what we’re thankful for.

That’s why I’m approaching this occasion, my favorite holiday, with renewed humility as well as gratitude. Thanksgiving, after all, is not about anything commercial or fleeting. No, it’s about remembering what really, truly matters in life — all the simple blessings of family and friends, home and loved ones, nature that provides so much goodness and asks us to be wise stewards, good stories and big ideas that lift our spirits.

It’s also about sharing good food and conversation with those we love. That part of Thanksgiving, alas, won’t be happening at our home this year. We won’t be seated at the same table, so we can’t pass around the homemade pumpkin pie or fresh cranberry sauce. There’s certainly a loss in that. But there’s also a chance to feel grateful for all the times we’ve shared those experiences in the past — and will again, I’m sure, in the future.

This year, my family will gather not around the table but on a video call. We can certainly share the abundant love we feel for each other. That’s something even more tasty and nutritious than pumpkin pie.

And we will also share our family’s two Thanksgiving traditions:

First, each of us will take a moment to speak about what we feel thankful for. Those statements are a way of honoring the core values of this holiday.

Second, I plan to read aloud something I always share on Thanksgiving — my favorite passage from “The Wind In The Willows” by Kenneth Grahame. In that passage, Mole finally realizes that he’s truly grateful for his home, small and humble as it is… because home is the place that always gives him “the same simple welcome.”

May your Thanksgiving, wherever and however you celebrate it, give you a feeling of deep gratitude. And may that experience, like the ones before, also give you the same simple welcome.

Thoughts on Gratitude and Thanksgiving

T. A. Barron, Author and Founder of the Barron Prize

My friends, this is a different kind of Thanksgiving for us all. With the many troubles that surround us — affecting our own health and also our families, our communities, our country, and the environment of the planet that supports us and all living creatures — it’s hard sometimes to feel thankful. But in truth, it’s more important than ever to remember what we’re thankful for.

That’s why I’m approaching this occasion, my favorite holiday, with renewed humility as well as gratitude. Thanksgiving, after all, is not about anything commercial or fleeting. No, it’s about remembering what really, truly matters in life — all the simple blessings of family and friends, home and loved ones, nature that provides so much goodness and asks us to be wise stewards, good stories and big ideas that lift our spirits.

It’s also about sharing good food and conversation with those we love. That part of Thanksgiving, alas, won’t be happening at our home this year. We won’t be seated at the same table, so we can’t pass around the homemade pumpkin pie or fresh cranberry sauce. There’s certainly a loss in that. But there’s also a chance to feel grateful for all the times we’ve shared those experiences in the past — and will again, I’m sure, in the future.

This year, my family will gather not around the table but on a video call. We can certainly share the abundant love we feel for each other. That’s something even more tasty and nutritious than pumpkin pie.

And we will also share our family’s two Thanksgiving traditions:

First, each of us will take a moment to speak about what we feel thankful for. Those statements are a way of honoring the core values of this holiday.

Second, I plan to read aloud something I always share on Thanksgiving — my favorite passage from “The Wind In The Willows” by Kenneth Grahame. In that passage, Mole finally realizes that he’s truly grateful for his home, small and humble as it is… because home is the place that always gives him “the same simple welcome.”

May your Thanksgiving, wherever and however you celebrate it, give you a feeling of deep gratitude. And may that experience, like the ones before, also give you the same simple welcome.


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The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes celebrates inspiring, public-spirited young people from diverse backgrounds all across North America. Each year, the Barron Prize honors 25 outstanding young leaders ages 8 to 18 who have made a significant positive difference to people and the environment.

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WE'D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU!

Media inquiries and other questions:

Barbara Ann Richman

Executive Director

director@barronprize.org

Questions about the online application:

admin@barronprize.org

Terms of Use | [copy] [year] Thomas A Barron, LLC
Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes | P.O. Box 1470 | Boulder, CO 80306

Terms of Use | [copy] [year] Thomas A Barron, LLC

Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes

P.O. Box 1470

Boulder, CO 80306