• Erin Patrick

It's not a goodbye, it's a see you later


It was an accident. Becoming a part of Georgia College Miracle was a happy accident.

It started with an email sent to mass communication majors: “A service organization needed public relations help.” All I knew, in the beginning of my spring semester freshman year, was that I wanted experience and that public relations was probably a good place to gain that experience. And for a service organization? That was an added bonus. Little did I know that even though I joined for experience, I’d stay For The Kids.

Fast forward to first semester sophomore year. A full-fledged member of the GC Miracle executive board. Eyes-wide, passion on fire, as I realized what it was that I’d become a part of. Not just a service organization but a markedly incredible group of individuals with a passion that shined many shades brighter than anything I’d yet experienced in college. Not just a service organization but an organization with a widespread cause, a tangible impact, a national affiliation — a movement. As the year progressed, I learned. As I learned, my attachment to this movement grew. I knew this wasn’t just a resume-enhancing leadership position or a once-a-week meeting, this was an all day, everyday commitment to being For The Kids. Our 20-ish person executive board worked all year to meet our goal of $65,000 — a goal we exceeded by $7,000. I danced with the kids, dressed up like a minion and paraded through the Children’s Hospital on Halloween, visited the NICU, and pushed and pushed to raise my part of that final $72,000.

There’s nothing like your first goal reveal. It’s a nervous stomach, it’s pins and needles, it’s euphoria, it’s tears, it’s dancing, it’s falling on the floor in awe, it’s For The Kids.

Needless to say, I stuck with it. I changed positions, I saw myself grow, I watched the GC Miracle family change and expand, I met the most dedicated people from all corners of campus and walks of life — each one of us having a different reason that we were For The Kids. We broke $100,000 one year and set our goal even higher to $175,000 the next. Our Miracle Family grew from about 20 people my first year to over 200 my last year — committee members, morale leaders, professors…an entire campus behind the cause. It’s sometimes hard to explain to others why GC Miracle feels so different than any other organization, and why being FTK isn’t just an acronym or a fun saying, but something that we live out everyday, and collectively devote thousands of hours to. So I try to explain how I’ve grown, how I’ve learned and seen myself change through service to others, and how that service to others — to those kids — is as tangible and real as hugging them, doing crafts with them, celebrating their birthdays and attending their soccer games.

As I say my farewells to being on the executive board and being a part of the thing that molded me into the person that is now entering the “real world,” it’s bittersweet. It’s that nervous stomach, those pins and needles, the euphoria and the tears and the dancing. It’s a lifelong commitment to the movement and to three letters: F T K. Thank you, and goodbye to Georgia College Miracle.

Forever FTK,

Erin

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