Dear IJGA Friends and Family:
As I sit down to write this, the sun is shining, the birds are singing and its almost hard to believe just last week we were preparing to evacuate our lowcountry home to escape the impending threat of Hurricane Irma. As I sit here in wonder, I am struck by a number of things. First, how lucky we were and are. While Irma mostly passed us by without significant damage or harm to our home, so many were not so fortunate. My thoughts with all who felt harm from Irma’s mighty punch. Having experienced firsthand the impact of Hurricane Matthew just last year, we know well that the road to recovery is long. We also know that road is riddled with people who can and want to help.
It’s perhaps that sentiment that resounds the most right now. That in mother nature’s worst, people can and will show their best. From young kids in South Carolina who set up “rest stops” full of snacks and water for evacuees to professional football players who have now raised nearly $35 million for hurricane relief, to all those individuals who heroically set out to save their neighbors, it doesn’t take long to realize that amidst devastation we are one community, capable of overcoming our vast differences for one another’s well-being.
The IJGA community is no different. I marvel at how quickly and beautifully each of our students responded to our need to evacuate – each doing their part to ensure we could leave for our safe haven in Charlotte. I am overcome with appreciation for the entire IJGA team who went above and beyond to facilitate a safe and positive evacuation. Each did their part to ensure our facilities were secure, all team members taken care of and students prepared for our trip. And I am beyond appreciative of our parents – who from around the world – not only entrusted us to facilitate the safe evacuation of their children but also showered us with immense support. It is not lost on me that our evacuation went as well as it did because of the IJGA community and each member’s commitment to one another.
It may seem like a small thing to some but it’s a significant display of humanity to me. Our news channels today seem littered with the bad news – highlighting trials and tribulations – that sometimes it’s hard to remember the world is full of beautiful souls who want to help each other. This past week I was reminded of this – both from our IJGA efforts to come together as one for safe evacuation and from the many stories of all the individuals and communities effected by Hurricane Irma.
While fortune came our way this storm, we remain thoughtful and dedicated to supporting those for whom Irma had more significant impact. More than that, I challenge all of us to come together on sunny days as we do when skies are grey. Our power and potential, if we do, is profound.
-Erin Elliott, Director of Student Life