One could imagine Jessi's and my Kaleidoscope quest as similar to that of Sam and Frodo: wandering through the wilderness, bickering and bonding, befriending weird small people, occasionally saving each other from drowning, wondering what the point of it all is. But where would Sam and Frodo be without a wise guide? We found our Gandalf last week in sunny Sousse, in the form of Katie Reid. Katie is a Professional Certified Coach who runs See Beyond, a business that works with expats across North Africa. She is also much younger, more attractive, and less hairy than Gandalf.
I wish I could give you a proper picture of the number of hours Jessi and I have sat across from each other in countless Starbucks throughout New York, in Shakespeare & Co. on Lexington, in her apartment on east 73rd, side by side at the bar for brunch on the Upper West Side, all while trying to pinpoint the heart and soul of where Kaleidoscope came from and to what end it exists. If only it were as simple as pinning a beautiful butterfly to a board! Instead, it has looked more like copious cappuccinos, loads of self-deprecating jokes, wrinkle-inducing laughter and worries, and lots of heart-to-heart conversations.
It was a year and a half ago when Jessi first told me about the application for Praxis, a nonprofit accelerator, on my way from the airport to her apartment. Then commenced a week of pure Googling: mission and vision statements, executive summaries, revenue versus income, while frantically trying to come up with all of the above. Not to mention wandering around the neighborhood an hour before the midnight submission deadline, budgets yet to be finalized, desperately seeking wifi so we could turn in our shoddy application. We put our MVV statements on the website and moved on, but it still didn't feel like they captured what Kaleidoscope meant to either of us or the hundreds of TCKs we work with.
Fast forward to last week: as Kaleidoscope, we had just wrapped our first ever simultaneous international conferences and were coming together for a couple days in between events on the breathtaking beaches of Tunisia. Katie was the one who brought us in for both events, and she generously offered us business coaching services during this time. We considered doing it both together and separate, and finally realized that, like most things in life, we would be foolish to try and go it alone. And thank goodness we did! I can honestly say that Kaleidoscope might no longer exist if we had had to respectively face the intimidation and responsibility of single-handedly defining the who, what, and why of what Kaleidoscope does, not to mention its 20-year vision. Hello, I can't even begin to imagine the year 2020.
Four days, 10 hours, and one plan for interplanetary domination later, we emerged with something resembling mission, vision, and values for this little adoptive dreamchild I call Kaleidoscope. We experienced the groan zone, for sure. We had good, tough talks about our personal and professional relationship (#workwife). We got frustrated and took unnecessary potty breaks. And Katie was there all along, pushing us to resolve our thoughts, asking us to consider only our own and no one else's opinions, affirming our work and inspiring our future. In every way, she was our Gandalf, and more. She captures the excellence of the private sector within the consuming grace of Christ, and we benefitted greatly from that. We are convinced that we will continue to do so until Kaleidoscope has opened a community home for fourth-culture kids at the US colony on Mars in the year 2037. Thank you, Katie!
So, *deep breath* here is (some of) the fruit of our labor:
Kaleidoscope collaborates with children growing up overseas to spark a shift in perspective.
Our vision is for every TCK to turn the pieces of their life into vibrant patterns.