I know it's been a little while since I've sent out anything via this thing, but I wanted to be sure that folks are aware of some important news! I am moving from Durham to Greensboro this summer in order to finish my master's education in Counseling at UNCG!
My first year was wonderful in so many ways because of and in spite of my commute. And as much as I've loved still being at Duke and in Durham, it has become increasingly clear that I should be in Greensboro, at least until I graduate.
At the beginning of the year, my housemates and I agreed to not extend our lease in July for another year of life together. Soon after, I learned that my job would be changing by the end of summer, and I was given the option to be released from my two-year contract, an option I accepted. These, along with some other notable personal shifts, made it possible for me to pursue a job at UNCG, one that would pay for tuition and keep me from the struggle of relying on loans, scholarship, and self-made fundraisers. :)
I also see this move as an opportunity to grow, apart from my experiences at Duke and in Durham, kind of like a personal re-invention of sorts. At least, that's what one mentor of mine has told me, and I agree. :)
In a lot of ways, I feel like these changes have thrusted me as a caterpillar into a life cocoon, and I won't emerge as the butterfly I want to be for some time. And as scary as change can be, I'm quite hopeful about it all. I trust that I will continue learning and growing as I have been. I know that God is with me and that God is faithful to me as the Father He is.
Of course, your thoughts and prayers are appreciated. I'm still applying for jobs at UNCG and looking at places to live and worship-- so if you think you can help with that, please do! And if you feel inclined to give, I will certainly accept whatever you send with gratitude because it will help with my relocation!
And as always, don't be a stranger! I would love to hear from you, especially if we've not been in touch for a little while. Don't hesitate to reach out if you feel the unction to do so. Regardless, thank you for your time and consideration, and blessings to you and yours!
I mentioned that I was considering starting a blog, and I decided to do it. Like with this fund raiser, I'm not entirely sure what will happen, how it will be received, how folks will respond and so on.. we will see what happens! It's nothing much right now, but I'm hoping to post regularly and add more over time. And I'm hoping you'll check it out every once in a while. For those who are interested:
Tomorrow is the final day of this fund raiser (and my birthday!), so I wanted to give you the last official giving update today... I'll be a little occupied tomorrow, turning 24 and all. Hopefully, you understand. :)
Quick Recap: We've raised more than $3000 thus far, and I was able to pay for all of next semester's tuition. (Thanks again!) Anything else raised will cover books and other expenses throughout the semester: (travel, workshops, life, etc.)
Point of Clarity: I am currently in graduate school. I repeat, I AM CURRENTLY IN GRADUATE SCHOOL. Some folks have been confused about this, so I want to set the record straight. I'm not starting school next year. I have been at UNCG since August pursuing a MS in Counseling. I intend to finish in May of 2014.
1.) You can give apart from this website. Some people have opted to do that, and that's totally fine. Just message me via the "Contact" icon on the main page.
2.) You can give after 12/30. Some people have not been able to contribute with the holidays and whatnot, and that's totally fine too. Just because the campaign is over doesn't mean you can't surprise me in 2013. Again, feel free to contact me; I have Facebook, Twitter, Email, Phone-- I will gladly receive your support!
3.) You can give even if we don't reach $6000. Don't think this is a failure if we don't get to 100% by the end of 12/30. This has made a major difference for me financially and personally; I am eternally grateful for your responses!
Final plea: Through this campaign, I've not wanted anyone to feel pressured or forced to give. Rather, I have sought to trust in the goodness of people and to believe that people can demonstrate that they care if I give them the chance. I know there's always a reason not to give-- I'm just hoping you find a reason to give and decide that this is worth it. Please contribute something, share this with a friend, and/or message me! It's not 60 days yet, and it's not $6000 yet, so it's certainly not too late!
Blessings to all of you! Happy New Year!
Love Love Love :)
p.s. after all of this, I am seriously considering starting a blog. Be on the lookout if you're interested!
Day 52! Less than 10 days left of this campaign! And a little less than halfway to go! Think we can do it?? I believe we can!
I know I'm not the only one out there who likes to reach goals, and I know it's not too late to raise the remaining $2985.00. Much more money has been raised in the span of a couple of hours. And we have eight days left until this GoFundMe journey is complete. That means we have eight days left to witness an amazing display in the "midnight hour" of this campaign.
I also have eight days left until my birthday! Exciting times, right? I'm turning 24 years old and ending this fund raiser on the same day: December 30.
Would you help me make my birthday celebration a little bit more celebratory? As we approach the Christmas holiday, my birthday, and the new year, please consider giving what you can and helping me reach my goal of $6000 in 60 days. I promise that giving to this fund raiser will make a difference!!
Blessings to you and yours!
p.s. safe travels to everyone traveling next week!
Hello Wonderful People! It's Day 45, and I have great news!
My tuition for the spring semester was due yesterday, and I am so grateful to report that I was able to pay it all off! Those of you who gave thus far have helped me get over a big mountain that I wasn't sure HOW I would get over. You still may think that you didn't do that much, but you really did. You cared enough to give, to share this with friends, and to wish me well.
And because of you, not only am I going into a new semester with tuition paid, I'm going into a new semester with renewed focus and revived inspiration. You took a step of faith with me, and it is great to know that others are with me, believing in me and my goals. I feel a part of something much bigger than myself, and it's great to see that connection manifest in such life-bringing ways.
To be clear, I still have other living and school expenses. This major need has been met because you gave, and I am hoping and believing that your gifts will meet my needs as they manifest. Ultimately, I trust that God will continue to demonstrate His love and faithfulness for me by supplying me in the way that I should go. And if you believe in what I'm doing, I ask that you please join me and the others that have given and contribute whatever you can.
I'm retreating away right now in the mountains with some friends from graduate school. One of my friend's parents own a home in Fancy Gap, VA, and the house is literally above the clouds-- it's kind of amazing and glorious. I'm attaching a photo; hopefully you can see it. I've been reflecting a lot lately, especially with the year coming to an end and with views like the one in the picture I attached. :)
And one thought came to me: what if we don't get to $6000? Interestingly enough, I didn't get worried... It may seem strange, but I just continue to trust that whatever needs I have will be met. As the holidays approach and the year comes to a close, I hope that you will consider helping me and including me in your giving, but even if you've already determined that you're not giving, I'm okay with that. As much as I want everyone to give so that we get to 100%, I know that tuition will be due soon, and I will use what I have to get where I'm going and UNCG will get what I have! :)
So again, I hope you'll consider giving as you feel led! I'd love to get to 50%! And please don't hesitate to reply to this and/or to share this with others.
I know I promised I wouldn't send multiple emails, so please pardon these additional messages, but for some reason, the link didn't show in the last update... here it is again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ay_z3Ops_Z4
And if for some reason, it STILL doesn't show, just click on the "Take me to this page >>" link in the email, and you should be able to get to it from my actual page.
"..the light is so much better than the darkness..."
That's a quote from my video that I promised to post. It's my attempt to give you a little more insight about who I am and to open up a conversation that I've been having for a while now. I've been having it in my own safe spaces, and I think I'm determined to be a safe space and give others that same courtesy and privilege.
It's Day 30! We're halfway through, and since I last wrote, we've raised an additional $140! Together, 52 people have given a total of $2,545!! I've also appreciated all the feedback through phone calls, email, Facebook, and Twitter that people have offered. Again, I say: Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Also, I want to give special thanks to those of you who have responded to my Thanksgiving post. As expected, I've gotten a wide range of responses, all of which prompted me to create a video to explain some more of what was behind the post and give you all some additional insight into who I am. I'll post that soon...
Some of you may be like, "What is he talking about?" -- if that's you, just scroll down, read my Thanksgiving post, and bring yourself up to speed. That way, my post with the video will make sense. Hopefully, that helps.
In any case, here's to the second half of this campaign. It's been a journey of faith, courage, and humility thus far, and I only anticipate this continuing until the end. Again, please reply, share with others, and give to the campaign as you feel led. And thanks again!
Today is Day 24, and we've made more progress towards the goal-- another $150 since last weekend :) special thanks to those of you who have given. We aren't done yet though! I received an email this week about tuition for next semester, and it is more than I estimated-- a little more than $4000 all due by December 14th. I'm hoping that more people will show their support and participate in giving.
Now, giving has clearly slowed down some since we first started this, but we're not done yet! If we raise at least $100 everyday, we can do it. I'm doing my best to see how I can reduce that $4000 through scholarships and additional work, but anything you have to close the gap will help! There are 36 days left to raise the remaining $3600, and I promise you that you will be making a big difference by investing in me and in my aspirations.
Please reply! I'd love to hear from you! Please share the link with others! And of course, please donate! Thanks for reading :)
I've been up early today with a lot on my mind, and I thought I would come here to share some of it. More than 600 people have visited the page, and 46 people have given, so I know someone out there paying attention to this thing"¦
Most of you know who I am, and some of you know me better than others, but I think very few of you know the truth behind why I'm in graduate school for counseling, why I care the way I do, why I'm putting myself out there and trying to raise $6000 in 60 days.
I'm not sure what pains or challenges you have experienced in life personally, but the reality that God willfully plans or allows these things is something that I have thought about a lot over the last year or so. I've wondered about suffering, about sacrifice, about choosing the harder road less traveled. In many ways, I feel that, in this life, we are bound to suffer, to experience some kind of pain, grief, loss, and/or shame that doesn't just go away. It is there, underneath layers of skin and smiles and "I'm good"s and responsibilities and worries and all manner of life"”it is there. Some feel it more than others, but we all have felt it"¦ and if you haven't yet, I imagine that you will at some point.
I have much for which I am thankful, and I certainly don't want to communicate that my life sucks. I am especially mindful of all kinds of blessings that have been given to me, things that I don't necessarily deserve, things that I easily take for granted, things that I worked to achieve, things I didn't even request"¦ I have all kinds of tangible and intangible blessings that prove to me that my life does not suck.
Still there are days when life just sucks. Despite knowing the love of God and having the love of many family members, friends, mentors, and random acquaintances, I have felt powerfully alone for the last several days, in major part because I am admittedly, complicatedly, unashamedly, attracted to someone who cares for me deeply but is unable to express or demonstrate that care for me without shame because we are both men...
He and I were not looking for each other. Somehow, we found each other and we just connected. And for a lot of reasons, we have chosen to not be together, to not act on our feelings, to put God before our desires. For a while, I have felt the conviction to live according to the standard of God's love for us, and today, I feel the sacrifice of that standard. And it sucks because I feel that sacrifice incredibly on the same day when I should be thankful. I don't say all of this in pride or in shame; I say it in sincerity. I say it in sincerity, offering a limited account of my human suffering as no better or worse than anything else suffered by another human being.
Many of you know that I am a Christian, that my relationship with and experience of Jesus as a child of God is central to who I am. It is in this context that I have understood this suffering along with lots of other things in my life. It is also in this context that I have experienced a lot of hurt from clueless Christians, brothers and sisters in the faith who lack awareness, understanding, and compassion for someone who experiences same-sex attractions. It is also in this context that I have experienced such incredible love and grace and acceptance and encouragement. It has been refreshing, inspiring, empowering, and life-giving, and it is why I am still here.
Paradoxically, I have felt pulled towards and away from God. I have felt discouraged and encouraged all at the same time. I feel settled in my fundamental beliefs about all of this, but I know I am constantly being changed by all of this-- I am being transformed now, even as I go through this. I feel silly for writing this, and yet something tells me it is not so silly. And the thing that keeps me going is love. As typical as it may sound, it is because of the sacrifice of demonstrated love by real people who know me that I am where I am today.
Even writing these last paragraphs, I have sighed with relief and smiled with genuine thankfulness for every person who loved me enough to show it, for every deed done with my benefit in mind. I'm sure that there is a wide range of opinions around sexuality, but I'm not here for that polarizing conversation today. I'm just here to be honest and offer thanks for the people who love me because of me and in spite of me. That is what I am most thankful for this Thanksgiving Day because it has not only been wonderful to receive, but it has also motivated me to give. I know that if I can pay this forward, giving this same kind of regard, sincerity, and care through my work, I will make a world of difference. In the midst of my own experiences of disregard, judgment, loneliness, and suffering, I know what this sacrificial love looks like, and I am learning how to give it even when I feel motivated to do otherwise"¦
So, my aspiration to complete this counseling program is not just to have a degree or pat myself on the back for doing something challenging. It is ultimately to be there for the countless numbers of people who know what it is to suffer however they suffer, who feel hopelessly alone, who are stuck between what they want to do and what they should do, who just want someone to see them as they are. I hope to be one of those people who can be there. I hope to demonstrate that same kind of sacrificial love that has been given to me so many times. I hope to make that difference.
And I hope that you'll help me make that difference. I hope that you'll reply, share with others, and give as you feel led. Thanks for reading this blog-like post-- I felt a release to put this out there, so I hope it gives you something you didn't have before. And again, Happy Thanksgiving & Blessings to you and yours.
I'm happy to report that we are continuing to progress closer towards the goal. This week, we raised an additional $400, and hundreds more people have seen the page. I continue to feel inspired and encouraged by what people have given and how people have shown their support.
My hope is to reach the 50% mark by the end of the month. That is exactly Day 30 and would place us at exactly halfway through this campaign. Would you help me get there? Of course, you can donate any amount either through the website or to me directly if you are more comfortable with the latter approach. You can also share this with other people you know to help spread the word. Please do what you can! Any and every demonstration of support is so appreciated!
Again, thanks to all of you who are supporting this campaign! Let's get to $6000 in 60 days!
I'm happy to report that we're more than 30% there! So far in 10 days, 33 people have given and even more people have emailed and shared this fund raiser with others. Truly, I have felt so incredibly encouraged by every demonstration of support-- I hadn't doubted it, but I know confidently that people love me, believe in me, and are inspired by me. And that has meant just as much as (if not more than) receiving donations. Again, every donation no matter the amount helps-- there is no small contribution.
For those who have yet to respond, I ask you to please consider responding and contributing in some way. I would love to hear from you and will gladly receive whatever you can contribute. I am encouraged by this personal display of the power of the collective, and I hope that you will show your support.
So far, I've raised nearly 10% of my goal in only three days! The contributions and comments have all been incredibly encouraging, and it means so much to know that people believe in me! It may not seem like much, but it means a lot to me, and I feel so motivated to get this degree and continue supporting young people.
If you haven't, please consider making a donation and getting me closer to my goal of $6000 in 60 days! And even if you can't give, please share this with others and don't hesitate to message me back. I love hearing from you!
p.s. I promise not to attack your inbox everyday with updates-- I plan to send email updates once a week, so look out next weekend for an update on our progress. :)
If you want to understand why I'm doing all of this-- I recommend that you read my Thanksgiving Day post and/or reach out to me at your convenience. Help me reach my goal of $6000 in 60 days! Blessings to you and yours! :) =================================================
I hope this finds you well. My name is Jesse
Huddleston and my predicament is simple: I am a graduate student in need of
financial support as I seek to obtain my master's degree in counseling. Those
that know me know that I am passionate about working with young people. I want
to help my students become their best selves, maximize their educational
potential, and actually make a positive difference in the world. To this end, I am taking a
step of faith here, believing that my community can make a difference for me as
I work towards completing my graduate education and enhancing my capacity to
help others. My goal is $6000 in 60 days... can you help me meet this goal??
I know that one person
may not be able to change my whole financial situation, but I really do believe
that if many people do what little they can, together they can make a world of
difference for me. If you are able to contribute any amount, it would be
greatly appreciated"”I cannot stress that enough. Please consider giving what
you can and/or sharing this message with others. Please help me make this goal of $6000 in 60 days a reality!
Blessings to you and yours!
Love Love Love :)
p.s. feel free to email me personally for more information! firstname.lastname@example.org
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