Can I be honest? When I announced I was going to offer 5 scholarships to people I had a fear run through me… “what if no one applies…” I actually started trying to come up with friends in the industry I could gift scholarships to in the event that no one else was interested.
I have had several friends ask me why I would even give scholarships in the first place to workshops that have previously always sold out. I think to some it didn’t make sense to give limited seats away when there would be people willing to pay for those seats. The answer to this is simple: I know firsthand what it is like to have so many ambitions, goals and dreams but to feel like they are unattainable because of financial limitations. A lot of people don’t realize that I grew up pretty poor and have had to fight my way out of that. Exactly ten years ago I started my business with less than $500 in my bank account, and simultaneously worked a minimum wage job just to make ends meet. I know what it is like to wonder how rent will be paid in two weeks. I know what it is like to skip meals to save the money. I’ve laid awake at night filled with anxiety, wondering what the future holds. There were so many things I wanted to do at times, but just couldn’t afford to do them. But then somebody helped me. They believed in me. They saw talent and potential. At a time when I felt alone and was questioning if I should throw in the towel on my business, this person gave me a small loan that helped me get over a hump. They asked for me to pay it back someday by helping others who need the support to overcome the obstacles hindering their dreams. So I’m offering scholarships… to pay forward a kindness that was once given to me, and to help people who have lost a bit of hope regain the confidence to keep chasing their dreams and the calling on their lives.
Yet… like everyone… I am human, insecure and sometimes afraid to put myself out there. I didn’t even know if anyone would want a scholarship. The self doubt that so quickly creeps into all of us made me question if I really had anything to offer that people would want to learn.
But then the applications started rolling in… 1….2….5…. 20….100… 165… 230. I’m still blown away. More than 230 applicants from all over the world responded. We heard from people from Indonesia, Kenya, France, Australia, England, Mexico, Canada and almost every state in the Union. As I started reading through the words that were submitted, I realized that these were so much more than scholarship applications… these were stories of real people with real struggles, real fears, real hurdles, real insecurities, real questions, real victories, real hopes and real dreams. The vulnerability that was displayed and the honest glimpse into these lives was humbling to receive.
I want to say thank you to each person that applied. Thank you for being vulnerable, and taking a risk to put yourself out there. Thank you for sharing with me a bit of your journey. Thank you for your kind words to me and my wife about our work and how we have inspired you. I want you to know that we feel honored to have read your hopes and dreams and to be trusted with your stories. I felt a responsibility to carefully read each one and to give each person an equal opportunity.
Choosing 5 applicants from the beautiful stories we received was an impossibility. We decided to double the number of scholarships and offer 2 scholarships per session, for a total of 10 scholarships. We selected a range of people from different walks of life and different levels of experience. Some people have been in the industry for years and want to figure out how to take the next step, Some of these recipients are in a place of discouragement and are wondering if they should stop dreaming. One applicant touched me with the amount of joy she was beaming with in her photo, and that same joy resonated in her articulate words describing what she wanted out of life. Some people have never touched flowers before and are just getting started on their journey. The choices were difficult to make, and we sat for hours reading, discussing, narrowing it down and finally selected the 10 recipients.
Before I list the scholarship recipients, I want to repeat my thankfulness for everyone who applied. Your stories have inspired me and reminded me why I want to teach workshops in the first place. My heart feels burdened thinking about how many people might be discouraged by not receiving a scholarship. To all of you I say… please keep dreaming and don’t give up on any of your goals. I want you to know that your stories were just as meaningful, inspiring and beautiful as the people who are receiving the scholarships. Please don’t question that. It was a terribly difficult decision, and I wish there was a way to gift a scholarship to everyone. We will have more workshops in the future with additional scholarships; I welcome you to apply again, and sincerely hope that you do.
The Sinclair and Moore Spring 2016 Scholarship Winners
March 29-31, 2016 – The Elements of Event Design
Kiara Bright- Hancock
April 12-14, 2016 – The Art of Floral Design
May 17-19, 2016 – The Elements of Event Design
June 7-9, 2016 – The Art of Floral Design
June 16-18, 2016 – The Master Class
Congratulations to all of the recipients! We can’t wait to meet you and hear more about your story and play a small part of helping you get to where you want to be. We’ll be in touch soon with more details.