Last month, I had the honor of going to Costa Rica on my company’s Top Performer trip. One of the things I love most about the opportunity – other than just escaping the Indiana winter – is that I get to interact with my colleagues about things non-work related. As my husband and I were lounging around in the pool, The Sussy Project came up. My colleague DP, and his wife Susan, told me about their daughter, Matti. She is a gorgeous high schooler who just happens to have a hearing impairment. But the real story, and the connection to The Sussy Project, was about Allison. When I returned from the trip, we had received a nomination for Allison for a sussy. Here is what DP wrote:
Our daughter, Matti, is a special kid, who is strong, beautiful, and smart, but has difficulty communicating given her hearing impairment, and is on a bit of a ‘different track’ than most other students at Loveland High.
Allison is popular, a varsity athlete, and a great all-around person. Since Matti arrived at Loveland as a Freshman, Allison has gone out of her way to include Matti in ‘EVENTS’ like homecoming pre-gatherings, to simple things like an invitation to sit at her table at lunch. This has all been done with the best intentions, and with nothing but unconditional want to make Matti feel included. Matti, and we, have appreciated every effort in this regard.
If there were more “Allisons” around, we’d all be in a better place!
Allison and Matti at Homecoming this year
It’s incredible to consider the age of these young women and what a paramount time in their lives it is. For Allison to include Matti the way she has, simply because she is a good person and likes Matti, shows so much confidence, leadership and compassion. We are honored to have been introduced to Allison and were really excited to Sussy her.
DP came up with the great idea to send Allison a gift card to Target so she can purchase some “off to college” items. We reached out to Allison and let her and her parents know of the nomination and to look out for the sussy.
Here is what Allison said in response:
Receiving the Sussy Award was such a surprise, and I am so thankful to have been recognized by such a lovely family like the Pooles! Little do they know that Matti has impacted my life as well. She is the sweetest and most loving girl that you will ever meet. She is always happy. This special trait of hers brings out the best in me. Matti has also helped me to see the world from a different view point because of her hearing impairment. I love spending time with Matti, whether we’re just chilling out or dancing like no one is watching at homecoming! I can’t wait for prom this year, Matti!!
And her lovely parents wrote to us too:
As parents, we are extremely proud of Allison. Not necessarily because of what she has accomplished in her young life, but rather because of who she is as a person each and every day. She is a special and thoughtful individual who genuinely cares for others unconditionally. Deliberately, and at times unknowingly, with her actions Allison reminds us about what is most important in this world. And for that we are truly blessed. –Mary Beth Kluge and Steve Kluge
We love this story for a variety of reasons – just one of them being that we were introduced to two pretty spectacular high school girls. But in addition, when I consider this story in relation to all the ones we hear about how bad high school has gotten for teens: bullying, cliches, peer pressure. Though high school wasn’t a treat for me, I can’t imagine going backwards and doing it over in this day and age. It’s a story like this one – of Matti and Allison – that reminds us there are great students doing wonderful things. There are confident women who are kind and compassionate. And it’s those people that will become the leaders of the next generation.
I hope this story gets shared with other kids in high school. I hope they see that the best way to get to big places is by being kind.
As Kurt Vonnegut says….
“Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you’ve got a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies- God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.”