Adopting a Village in India: Heather Champions Acting With Our Collective Inner Genius

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Heather Lamb and one of the people who inspires her genius — Sir Ken Robinson

 

SMART is a proud sponsor of Free the Children’s Adopt a Village program in India. Our village is the community of Verdara is located in Rajsamand District, Rajasthan State in the northwest part of India. It is 30 minutes away from the main town of Kelwara and two hours away from Udaipur city.

SMART employees applied to become Ambassadors for SMART’s Adopt a Village program and will start building the school in India next week! We heard from Ainhoa Marcos already about why she’s excited for the journey. Let’s continue the conversation with Heather Lamb, Customer Advocacy Manager, based in Texas, U.S.A. Here’s what Heather had to say.

“You are a genius and the world needs your contribution.” Angela Maiers recently asked me about my genius. It isn’t a tough question, but not one I have ever been asked. My answer and why I wanted to be a SMART Ambassador for Free the Children as we build a school in Verdara follows below.

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When I became a teacher, I knew I would not change the world, but what I could do was bring the best of me each and every day — help students improve and understand how a simple act of solving a problem in a new way is genius (and one part of my own genius). Action is another part of my genius. I don’t wait for someone to ask me what I think and then stall.  I am ready to figure out a plan, act on the plan and reconstruct the plan if necessary. Too much time is wasted asking “what if” and never acting upon ideas. Angela Maiers says “action is the world’s greatest currency.”

Today, I continue to figure out ways to contribute and add my genius and through my involvement I am eager for more. I look forward to developing a sustainable model in Verdara with community ownership where I can help create action, find new ways to solve problems and help others to share their own genius.

From Habitat for Humanity to Free the Children

About five years ago as I was driving through a pretty rough neighborhood, I noticed a sign: “Volunteers needed to BUILD. Habitat for Humanity will be here in 2 months…will you?” I was intrigued and very curious. I can use a hammer. I can paint.  I wondered… can I help?  I got home and made a call.

What is Habitat for Humanity doing in that neighborhood? I found my answers and signed up. Not only did I paint, learn how to use a saw and hammered siding, I was building a legacy for a lucky family. The family who would receive the keys to this house was part of that journey. They were deeply invested in this process and were building right along with me. I didn’t just help build a house. I was part of a better opportunity for this mother and her boys — a place to call home.

My curiosity from that single sign turned into one of the most rewarding experiences of my lifetime — not because of my hammering or painting skills, but because how those interactions over four weekends made an incredible impact. I learned first-hand compassion. I learned what a mother does for her children when she has so little. I learned what it really means to be courageous and how my small investment of time can pay off with a healthier, happier family who can improve their options and provide a better future for their children. Those are the same things which have prepared me to volunteer in Verdara and work alongside the Free the Children organization to make a difference in this community.

They say it “takes a village to raise a child.”  I spent 16 years in the classroom teaching thousands of children and I know those years definitely influenced who I am today as a leader and learner. I would love to put into practice some of those applications. I am honored to be selected and represent SMART while allowing my colleagues to live “vicariously” through my experiences via this blog and on social media using the #SMARTFTC hashtag. I look forward to immersing myself in the culture and sharing my new friends though my lens and learn and grow with my global communities.

Thanks Heather!

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