For those who don’t know me, I want to begin by giving a brief introduction…so, hi! My name is Katie, and I am currently the Controller for Be Like Brit, working out of the office in Worcester, Massachusetts. I have been lucky enough to travel to Brit’s Home five times, my first trip being in April of 2015. What an incredible journey it has been, to be a witness to the growth of not only the children but also the foundation as a whole. I hope that in sharing my stories and experiences, I am able to continue spreading the faith, hope and love that encompass Be Like Brit.
I first want to begin with one story, one memory in particular. This past year, I served as a volunteer in a marginalized community of Ecuador. Each and every day, I experienced and felt the extreme joys and the deep pains of my loved ones surrounding me. When I found myself struggling to comprehend and understand what I was witnessing, I asked for guidance.
One week in February, my community and I hosted a group of college students and faculty members from a university in Philadelphia. It was during this time that I was really searching for the words and comforts of someone new. With a surge of bravery, I asked a visitor to share in coffee and wisdom with me one morning. As we were talking, I told her of Britney’s story and about the beginning of Be Like Brit. I also spoke of my fears of not knowing enough Spanish, and feeling anxious in making visits to neighbors’ homes on my own.
Her response is one I will never forget: “Imagine Britney, with her hand on your back, pushing you out the door”.
In my moments of weakness, I was brought to this image. I could so clearly see her and feel her, standing behind me with her hand on my back, giggling yelling “Go Katie!”, and feeling so deeply that she believed in me.
Though I was never lucky enough to know Britney, her loved ones have taught me that she was fearless in all that she did. She did not care who you were, where you were from, what you looked like. She gave her whole heart to you. Britney inspired you to dream, and had fun while doing it.
Here and now, I know that Britney has her hand on the backs of each one of those children living, growing, and learning in her Home. She is there, supporting them and watching them dream. She is there when they make mistakes, laughing alongside. She is there when they pass an exam or score a goal, always their biggest cheerleader. She is guiding them, holding them, and loving them alongside all of the wonderful staff, Britsionarys, and the Gengel family who support and love them wholeheartedly.
Because of Britney, and her courageous family, these children have a world of opportunities that not many others in their country hold. Through such, Macson discovered his talent for drawing, Loobens has (almost) perfected his game of chess, Guerlanda loves to play the piano, and so many more. At Brit’s Home, they are able to learn about themselves, curate their interests and follow their passions— an incredibly beautiful gift.
I now want to ask you, where, or in what instance, would Britney put her hand on your back? Maybe you’re considering running a marathon, applying for a new job, or maybe even taking a trip to Haiti (had to throw that one in there). If you let her fearlessness, her courage, and her glowing spirit guide you, you will find what you are searching for, and that in everything, there is faith, hope, and love, just as there is at Be Like Brit.