It wasn’t too long ago when intrepid intern and Extended Family member, Amanda Wolfson, was feeling enormous anxiety joining her TEF sisters and brothers at The Freight House to engage in their “sweetest beans ever” jelly bean micro-business. That day interns were weighing and packing these organic lemon, grapefruit, orange, cherry and grape bites into miniature containers of art, donned with colorful labels and lacy, lovely ribbons, placing each meticulously packaged “bag of yummy” into cardboard boxes for our sales team to sell at area stores and shopping centers. As usual, Founding Mom Laurie texted and chatted with Amanda days before, reassuring this tentative team member that ALL Amanda needed to do was “show up.” That’s it.
If she decided to come and just chill on the cozy corner couch--than that’s exactly what she would do. If she wanted to help her co-workers weigh some beans---awesome. If she wanted to sit at the table and tie a few ribbons or label a few bags--beautiful. At no time did Amanda ever feel that there were expectations or rules. All Amanda had to do was just “show up.” That’s it. And that’s exactly what she did.
And after showing up, she inched over to her buddy Rachel, donning gloves, and going “all in” with the weighing and bagging, giggling until both girls decided to seal the deal with a warm, “doesn’t get much better than this” hug. As staff and family members circled this triumphant team with shout out’s and “whoo hoo’s,” this Extended Family mom realized why this moment in time mattered so much to me---and most of all, to my daughter.
This non-profit was created to empower individuals and families “to manifest, maintain and be in full command of their environment” at all times, where self-expression and individual desires were more than just part of their mission statement. Individual desires and empowerment are the engine that has driven this non-profit, celebrating the collaborative and inspired creativity and “freedom to just be” mantra that has helped every member of this heart-centered tribe feel safe, supported, and smiling.
Smiles matter a lot here. This family wants their interns to garner pride, a sense of accomplishment, and invaluable life skills. But at the end of the day, what is MOST important is that each and every member of this family ALWAYS feels that “they are in control.” They get to decide what feels right, what doesn’t feel right, and feel empowered to make choices that feel right for them.
That’s it. Which brings us back to Amanda. After discovering the promise that was made to her in a series of texts and phone chats was true, and that just showing up was “good enough,” this former titan of tentativeness slowly but surely discovered that there really is a place where just being who you are is good enough. And for this mom, nothing could be sweeter.
Meet our new Social Media Manager, Hilary Schwartz Wolfson:
Writing Life. Happy Life. I am now the official Social Media Manager for The Extended Family (along with being on the Advisory Board) and am discovering that my talents, going all the way back to my days as a freelancer for The NY Times 15 plus years ago, are surprisingly (and happily) being appreciated by folks today. I cannot deny that I am at my happiest when I am writing, particularly about issues that are important to me, so stay tuned Extended Family supporters for some lively interviews from our participants and intermittent Q & A's about our tribe and the three women (Laurie, Susan & Lisa) who made this all a reality!!
When Hilary isn’t blogging and acting as social media advisor for TEF you can find her playing with Frankie and Johnny, her two favorite goat buddies.🐐🐐