It's an amazing thing, the 6º of separation that truly does exist and just how short that space between can seem. Months ago at an Omaha Tweet-Up event, I met a young lady who was looking to help a struggling non-profit organization find a bit of professional design help. I just so happened that this organization was a community center that I had attended as a young man growing up in the inner-city, the 'Wesley House'. Say that name to anyone from North Omaha between the current ages of 25-40 and a proud smile will slide across their face. This place was a hub of my particular neighborhood but mostly in a summer camp setting for those who surely couldn't afford the glorious "Meatballs" experience. That alone would have been a saving grace full of knowledge and arts-and-crafts experiences, but there was a need—more so a call—to be more. Enter the times we live in and the struggles that financial short-comings bring.
That's where Mr. Paul Bryant comes in. To see him now is to see a razor sharp, sure-minded, firm-voiced gent often donning head-wear that would make the "Bear" himself proud to share a name. Paul Bryant is from the same streets where I grew up and found himself in the same predicaments that many of our counterparts faced and didn't escape from. After our introduction, there was first a very long conversation about the old "hood" and where the Wesley House had come since the times I attended. I needed to be brought up to speed because Mr. Bryant had a vision… the arts-and-craft approach had been good but was more akin to babysitting than true teaching. He wanted to see the place become a haven of building, molding and cultivating young minds to not be tolerated, merely lucky, nor babysat, but rather to be those who are found reaching and attaining goals through disciplined approaches to the game. So to that vision has now manifested itself as the 'Wesley House Leadership Academy'.
To the point, Paul Bryant has a message that feeds the vision; Living life, no merely with a goal but with an over-arching purpose that drives us constantly. To aid him in speaking engagements and meetings, he self-published a book 'The Purpose-Living Leader', yet the project had stalled a bit. That's where RDQLUS came in. As he explained his aim with the project, we began to talk things through and as a bit of paying it forward (or backward as the case was), I offered to help by creating an identity for him and his work and cover for the book project.
A few months later I got a call to have a it of lunch and catch up with Paul, where he informed me that the book had been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and the message looked to be taking hold. It's nice to do a bit of "pro bono" work that's more like a return on an investment that someone else made in me long ago.