Ok. You are about to be introduced to one of my favorite young friends. If you don't personally know this woman, and you live in Kansas City, you should make an effort to meet her. You can find her hanging out at the Nelson, because that's where she spends her working hours doing a fabulous job as the photography department's coordinator.
Natalie is smart, energetic, sweet and funny. She values a well baked cake, a good Packer's game, photography, kids and basic human kindness. Whenever I see her, I feel happy and hopeful. When she told me she would like to come to Africa with me sometime, I was elated. Too bad it worked out that I am not going on the trip she is actually going on, but something tells me we'll do a lot of CTT work together once she returns from meeting and falling in love with the children at the orphanage.
I just wish I could be there to see her face when she gets her first hug and when that first little hand slips into hers.
In Natalie's own words:
"I had the good fortune of meeting Gloria Feinstein my very first week of work in the photo department at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. We were at her home and she passed around a plate of Oreos to the group that had gathered to look at artwork. I knew at that moment that I was going to really like this person. I had no idea how right I was.
Over the past four years I have gotten to know her through her work, sharing stories about the University of Wisconsin (where we both attended college), our mutual love of baking and football. However, I really began to understand who she is when I listened to her talk about the children at St. Mary Kevin. The passion she exudes for the children at SMK is intoxicating.
I knew, upon hearing about Change the Truth for the first time, that it was an organization that I needed to be a part of. I can remember walking down the hallway at work one day, recounting a story Gloria had shared with me to a coworker and wondering out loud if she would ever consider taking me with her to meet these beautiful children. It took me years to even bring up the idea to her. For some reason, the reverence I have for what CTT was accomplishing made me question my own ability to make any sort of impact. Imagine my joy when I was invited to come along.
So here I am, four years later, ready to make my own journey to Uganda. The 'wouldn’t it be awesome if I could' dream has become a reality for me. I guess that is what this organization is really all about. Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could just change the truth for these few children? I am excited, scared and thrilled. But most of all, I am grateful. Grateful because I feel like I have been given a gift by being welcomed into the CTT family and because I haven’t even left yet and feel like this experience has already changed me for the better."