By Dina Lundblom
Coordinator, GCU Strategic Educational Alliances
“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Every day when I drive to work, I pass by a school that has three crossing guards at the intersection. And it is truly a highlight of my drive because I get to see these three energetic individuals giving kids high fives as they walk across the street, talking to moms who sometimes look weary or smiling at cars as they pass by. It truly is fun just watching them interact with people at a very busy intersection of town.
What’s their story? How did they get to this position? What makes them so enthusiastic? What experiences have they had to bring them to this point in time?
Whether they know it or not, these three individuals are touching lives – or in my case, helping me think differently about my day. How powerful is it that someone taking people across the street is impacting others? A look, a good deed or a word can sometimes move someone’s life for the good.
Have you ever known someone to have an idea on how their life was going to look, but then it changed to something different? Maybe that has happened to you. You had a dream or a goal for the way things would go, but then they went a little differently. But it turned out to be a good thing.
That happened to a good friend of mine. She grew up in a single parent home in which college wasn’t talked about. There wasn’t any extra money to think about college. But my friend had people around her that encouraged her to go to college. She didn’t really have a plan on what she wanted to do with her college experience, but thought she would go and see where it took her.
While in college, she volunteered to work with high school students in a Christian organization called Young Life. It was working with high school students at Coronado High School that helped change the course of her life. She established great friendships and began to have a passion serving students who were from broken homes or who were struggling with their day-to-day life. She loved mentoring young people and helping them through life by using some of her own experiences to overcome tough times.
Once my friend graduated from college, she quickly received a position with a company that would allow her to work with motivated and inspiring people in their field. While there, she moved into positions with increasing responsibility based on others’ recommendations.
But then the culture at the company changed. My friend was contemplating making a change, but she was afraid to step away from something she knew very well.
My friend finally decided to leave her company and had an opportunity to work at a school full time. She had no idea what she was doing, but she used the experience she had as a Young Life leader at Coronado High School. Those skills came into practice while speaking to parents and encouraging students who were in trouble. She coupled these skills with her experience in business.
My friend developed a passion for education, an understanding of the business and human element of the school and an appreciation for why education plays an important part in changing communities. My friend loved this new opportunity. She would often chuckle at herself when students at the school would walk up to her and say, “How do you know my name?” or “I want to be like you when I grow up.” She knew then that she had been placed in a role that was impacting lives. She went from working with marketing and sales professionals, presenting to people in top positions and formulating recommendations that would enhance business, to hanging out on a playground with students, working with teachers and running a school.
It’s fun to look back at my friend’s life and reflect on her story.
Because this person is actually me.
I never could have “written the script” for the course God had for me. From times that were very tough growing up to going to college and working with high school students to having a successful career and then moving into education, God had me go through challenging experiences to create new opportunities for me.
I’m so grateful. Many people have been put in my path who have changed who I am and the course of my experiences by their look of appreciation, their good deed of encouragement or their words of guidance.
So, what’s your story? Where is God putting challenges in your life to create new opportunities for you?
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More about Dina Lundblom:
Dina Lundblom is the K-12 coordinator for the Strategic Educational Alliances at Grand Canyon University. The K-12 team is dedicated to providing exceptional educational events for students, parents and educators in our community for continued academic success. Dina’s role focuses on the details and planning of these events to ensure a positive and inspiring occasion at GCU. Dina worked over 22 years in a leading consumer products company with responsibilities in various sales, marketing and category management roles. After 23 years in business, Dina had the opportunity to move into the education sector by assisting the principal at a Title I school. It is there that she became intrigued and passionate about the role education plays in communities. Dina wanted to remain in the education sector, utilizing her diverse experience in business and education and working with students and educators at Grand Canyon University. Dina has seen the impact of education and how teachers, principals, youth leaders and caring adults help mold and shape kids’ lives, and she loves being part of that in some way. It makes a difference to individuals, but also to our communities, organizations, towns and cities. Dina is excited to be a part of it at GCU.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.