Journey to a Degree with Purpose

It's not often you get a chance for a fresh start at a meaningful and lasting career, especially at 40. Luckily, I've been offered an amazing opportunity - to pursue my MA in Nonprofit Management at Antioch University. Beginning this FAll 2013, I'll be entering as an MA candidate in this brand new cohort for Antioch University Los Angeles, where I'll eventually make history (oh, in about 18 months or so) as part of the first graduating class of its kind. I'm embarking on the path to becoming a great leader in the Nonprofit Sector! Can I get a Woohoo!? Yup. I'm out to make a difference. To inspire change in my community. To make things better. Little by little, I'll get there...and I'm stoked! But, I need your help. Will you help me?

For those of you who don't know my story...
My goals are inspired from serving as a volunteer, first with Sustainable Works, where I trained to become a Green Living Workshop Instructor, then later alongside Los Angeles Green Grounds and The Ron Finley Project, with whom I've gone on to produce amazing projects throughout South LA! Volunteering in the nonprofit sector was the catalyst for my choice to engage my talents and my drive to "do more" by heading back to school to hone this energy toward shaping an honorable, lifelong career. I've reset my moral compass and I move forward everyday to show that tenacity to the world in my actions and thru my associations. I'm focused on being an active agent for change, stepping right up to the plate to help others continue the dialogue about living sustainably, food justice and greening our city. When you begin from an honest moment born of your own, personal paradigm shift - the result is that YOU MUST ACT. This action has led me to apply and to be accepted (Yay!) into graduate school and I now have to figure out how I'm gonna pay for it (Doh!). This is where you come in. As friends, supporters, dreamers, and believers in my goals, my mission, and heck, in me.

Over this past year, during my transition away from Corporate America, I've made many, many new associations in the green community (you might even be one of them) and together we've made a significant difference by producing and participating in events for our local communities. I've gotten this far with the moral support of friends and family and surely by my own blood, sweat, and believe me, tears. I've made significant changes and sacrifices in my own life, largely to gain the freedom to pursue these passion projects and dedicate my time and energies to community work that I truly find meaningful and rewarding - working for nonprofit organizations whose causes I can believe in. I try to not only "talk the talk," but more importantly, to "walk the walk." And I long as I continue to be true to myself and use that truth as my guide, I know I will go forward with my education, to do great things.

Please help me raise the necessary funds to cover the cost of my tuition, which is going to be more than $30,000! I'm not asking for a free ride, just help me get a 3rd of the way through. I'll even work for it! Hey, let's make a deal. I promise I won't let you down. I'm blown away everyday when I think about how far I've come. And, how far I'm gonna go. So, please give from your heart. And even if you can't give a dime, please share my story, so your friends will know what is possible when you set things in motion :-)

Thank you to everyone I've met, everything I've been a part of and everything beautiful I saw along the way. Your support is appreciated much more than words can say. The journey continues.

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Nikki Parrish 
Los Angeles, CA
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