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Diligence opens a new world of musical opportunities
2/26/2014 9:37:53 AM

By Katy Dolan 
Splash Guest Column

Everyone has a dream - whether it's to become president of the United States or to make a difference in their community. The tough thing about dreams though is that they rarely fall neatly packaged into our lap, ready to be unwrapped and realized. We have to work for our dreams, and that's what diligence is really all about. 

When I was 15 years old, I had a simple idea. I looked around at the amazing experiences that I was having in band and wanted to make sure that those experiences were accessible to all youth in Spokane. With this lofty idea in mind, I founded a nonprofit organization with a friend in February 2012. LETEM Play aims to make music accessible to all students in Spokane by collecting and distributing used musical instruments and hosting teaching clinics to make music fun for kids. Two years after starting my organization, I can look back at how far I've come and conclude that the main cause of my success has been diligence. Specifically, I feel that dedication, hard work and the ability to overcome adversity have been crucial in my journey. 

Starting a successful movement took a lot of dedication. I have never lost faith in the mission of my organization, and this confidence that I'm doing the right thing has kept me motivated throughout the last two years. I believe wholeheartedly in the power of music, and my goal is to make music a universal part of every child's education. It's going to take me a long time to completely realize that goal, but I am dedicated to my work. This is really the key to working toward anything: You must be wholeheartedly invested in your dream. 

Of course, growing a nonprofit organization from the ground up has taken a lot of hard work. I have balanced working for LETEM Play with my schoolwork and other activities, which has definitely been stressful sometimes. It takes true diligence to accomplish all of the tasks on my plate, but I am so dedicated to work with music that it's not too much of a burden. Before committing to a task, ask yourself if you are ready to put in the work necessary to make it all worthwhile. 

Unfortunately, starting LETEM Play has exposed me to a lot of adversity. Society is used to discriminating against young people, and I have fought to prove that I am just as competent as someone twice my age. I have heard "No" a lot, and sometimes it seemed hard to make things happen. However, I decided many times to persevere and blaze my own trail, and this aspect of diligence has truly made my efforts successful. LETEM Play has distributed more than $14,000 worth of musical equipment and raised $10,000 in two years, and we're not done yet. Honestly, if there are a lot of obstacles in the way, it just makes the end result a lot more fulfilling.   

I know better than anyone that sometimes it seems easier to give up than to keep pushing on. However, I challenge you to dedicate yourself again to a goal or a dream. Identify what is holding you back, and make a conscious resolution to defeat those whispers of doubt. When you realize that you can accomplish anything with a little diligence, the entire world seems full of opportunity.  

Katy Dolan is a senior at Central Valley High School. She plays flute, piano and dabbles in a few other instruments; she also serves as the senior drum major for CV's award-winning marching band. Dolan maintains a 4.0 GPA in AP classes, plays soccer, and was named a 2013 Build-a-Bear Huggable Hero for her work with LETEM Play. She'll be studying at Harvard University this year. She wrote this column as part of a series highlighting the PACE (Partners Advancing Character Education) trait of the month. The trait for March is diligence.

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