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It Takes a Village

Grayling HIgh SchoolIf you read my blog posts, you might already know about the small Northern Michigan town where I grew up. I moved to this town by choice when I was eleven. My grandparents and my aunt and uncle were kind enough to take me in, guide me, and prepare me for my adult years. This small town and my extended family raised me. It was the village approach and looking back, I know I was blessed.

This community of 1,884 people (yes you read that correctly) was my home. And even though I didn’t move there until age eleven, I consider Grayling my hometown and my roots. I’m now a city girl, but my roots have stayed with me and they sneak into my grown up world on the internet. Many of our WordPress themes are named after my up north family members, my ancestors, and even the founder of my little town. It’s my way of keeping my history alive and it is a daily reminder of where I came from.

We’re Giving Back

Part of our corporate policy is to give back to the community in which we work and live. We’ve donated to the elementary school’s hockey team, created websites for non-profits, and we’ve even donated backpacks and supplies for children in Africa because a high school friend leads a mission there each year.

In 2013 I decided to expand this further and start a scholarship program. I looked into scholarship opportunities at our local high schools and I was amazed at the amount of funding available. We work and live in the metro-Detroit area and we have one of the best school districts in Michigan. I realized a donation to our district would have much less impact than making one in my hometown. Therefore we shifted our focus and funding to the offering a scholarship to the graduates of Grayling High School.

My graduating class had about 100 students. Our budget and academic resources were comparable to the size of our class so our teachers spent many hours teaching, coaching sports, and making sure we were all on the right path. But with that smaller setting came a more personal approach then one would receive at larger schools. I, myself, was constantly told that I was smarter than I thought and that I needed to apply myself more than I did. They were right and their words followed me to college where I learned to apply the lessons they tried to teach me in high school. I worked my way through school and graduated with a major in accounting, thousands of dollars in debt, and a great start to adulthood. My village did a good job raising me.

I’m thankful for all the extended family members, parents, teachers, and employers who took an active role in parenting me through the seven years I lived in Northern Michigan. I am thankful that Web Savvy Marketing has almost doubled in size over the last year. I am thankful for the internet and all that it offers me and the next generation. I am thankful for the opportunity to give back to my community.

Are You Giving Back?

I plan to offer the scholarship to Grayling students year after year. And I need to make an effort to find more ways to give back. This is my personal and corporate goal for 2013.

If you’re ready this blog post you are most likely in a position to give back to your own community. The real question is have you or will you?

As you set your personal and/or corporate goals for the year, think outside of your life and business. Look around you and you’ll find endless opportunities where you can make a difference.

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More Stories By Rebecca Gill

Founder and President of Web Savvy Marketing, a Michigan based internet marketing firm that specializes in website design, organic SEO, social media marketing, and WordPress consulting.