I recently had the privilege of sitting down with one special Olympia resident. Her name is Sandra Kozlowski and she is on a mission. Her passion and determination have helped her turn a lifelong dream into a reality. What's unique about Sandra's dream is that it is not about her....
Three generations back in Sandra's family, her Great-Grandmother, Conchetta, was a single parent struggling to provide for her family. She had great aspirations to go to nursing school, however, due to her selfless nature and her commitment to her children she was never able to realize that dream. Years later, Sandra finds herself in a similar position, trying to manage her own schooling dreams while still providing constant presence and attention for her children and grandchildren. In a testament to the power of the human spirit, she has overcome countless obstacles on the way to her ultimate goal.
While many in her position would be happy just to make ends meet and put food on the table, Sandra is determined to fulfill her higher purpose in life: providing opportunities for others in her position to pursue their education goals while having a safe, supportive place to live. Her dream and vision have evolved into Conchetta House, a non-profit organization dedicated to removing the roadblocks to education for single parents. Sandra's selfless spirit has passed on to her children as well, who are her biggest supporters and are constantly asking what they can do to help get Conchetta House off the ground.
Lately it seems her dream has been gathering momentum and gaining national recognition. Numerous foundations are considering supporting her cause and lots of local media outlets are picking up the story. One of the most exciting opportunities that has come up is Subway's Refresh Your Life Contest. Sandra was chosen as one of 10 finalists competing for the grand prize of $20,000 to pursue their dream. Check out her video for the contest and be sure to VOTE FOR SANDRA!!!
When I asked what she would do with the $20,000 if she wins her reply was unexpected yet not surprising considering her selfless nature.... "I would buy a van for the woman from New Orleans (one of the other finalists in the contest who runs a food bank), I can't believe nobody has stepped up yet and helped that woman out!" She went on to say that whatever money was left would go toward a down payment on a property for Conchetta House.
Her advice for others who want to start an organization to pursue their dream of helping others in need...."Have the courage to stay on your path even during discouraging times and welcome the support and expertise of those willing to help." She says the most rewarding part of her journey so far has been meeting so many people with the desire to help.
So, what can you do to help? Start by casting your vote in Subway's contest. Then go check out the website for Conchetta House to get more information. While you're at it, become a fan of Conchetta House on Facebook.
Your support could help a single parent realize their dream!