Have Stilettos, Will Travel

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DeeShe has a way of making you instantly trust her. Her friends would describe her as consistent, loyal, and most of all, compassionate. Her laughter erupts when you least expect it and she is always quick to lend a hand in LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute)ly any way possible. She is Italian, loves pasta, panettone, and stilettos and she has worn just about every hat in LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute). Her real name is Diane, but to all of us in LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute), she is known as Dee.Success in life is often measured by very “predictable” metrics: money, career, family size, and making sure that which concerns you is ok. But those rules don’t apply to all of us. Some social rules were made to be broken, and Dee is proof that it is possible.We first met her in 2002, she was 18 at the time, and even then she was someone whom we recognized as being passionate and ready for a challenge. She started working with LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) the following year, and has been with us full-time ever since that day. But Dee’s idea of working full-time is very different from what many of us may consider. Work isn’t about a pay cheque to her – it is about a passion. It’s about knowing where you belong, and doing whatever it takes to continue to do it with focus and determination.dees-new-boyfriend.jpgIn the world in which we work in LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute), life changes quickly. High schools are an environment where in any given moment, you can be among an incredibly diverse group of people: from ethnicity to physical abilities to emotional or psychological stability, there are no two teenagers alike. It is a tenuous world and we walk into it every day. But that same diversity and fragility is why we believe so much in what we do in LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute): someone took the time to believe in each of us and now we have the privilege to do the same. This is basically Dee’s motto in life: love the world and be a part of something significant.Whenever someone asks Dee what she does, she never talks about the daily tedium of working in the office, never lists off all of the places that she has traveled with LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) through Hero Holiday or on one of our road teams. Instead, I have always heard her talk about why she does what she does: she believes that a vision this big needs many dedicated people to make it happen and she is one of them. And she is right.Success may mean a big house, a lot of attention and fanfare, and having many leather-bound books (thank you, Anchorman!) but in reality, for there to be any change that happens today to make tomorrow safer and better, success is also about dedication, passion and focus. It can look like many different people, and Dee is one of those people.Dee's teamFor all the Dee’s out there, this is our letter of thanks. People like you are not only what makes the world a better place – you are the ones who largely help to make it happen. Your willingness to be a part of something that is bigger than you makes you a hero. And though the world may not yet know your name, your imprint is left on lives and hearts all over the world. Thank you.Our programs in LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) are made up of many significant people like Diane: from our staff to our volunteers to our Hero Holiday participants, each of them are heroes because they are choosing to do what they can to make a difference where they see it is needed most. To find out more about how to get involved in what we do, check out“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” ~ Herman Cain

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: May 8th, 2010