What an eventful year it was in reminiscence of 2013 and all that was in store for me, my family, my friends, in the foundation. There is so much to remember 2013 by, so much to take away from it, so much to gain from it, so much loss from it, but if anything else so many lessons learned from it. The year kicked off with the opening of the Project Walk Claremont facility at the Claremont club in February, 2013. The Project Walk model and methodology has been a huge part of my recovery for the past six years and has truly developed and evolved my recovery into something that has become pivotal with my lifestyle that I live on a day-to-day basis. It has taught me and brought me independence and most importantly has given me such a great mental outlook and perspective on life that continues to push and move me forward on a day-to-day basis. Three years ago I had mentioned and brought up to my parents the idea and the notion of bringing the first ever Project Walk franchise up to the Inland Empire and expand upon our small facility that we already had at the Claremont club in making it the first ever franchise that Project Walk has seen. After my parents agreement to match my dollar to dollar donation to the Claremont Club to start this facility, my family presented a check of $300,000 to get the project started. In our older facility that was much smaller, where we were operating out of a converted racquetball court, we certainly may do and had a great team of staff who was willing to put their best foot forward to make the lives of spinal cord injuries better was going along great until we recognize and identified that we were running out of space with nearly 21 clients in our program in just an 800 ft.² converted racquetball court. My family and I went to Mike Alpert who plays a vital part, of the day-to-day operations, along with the wellness director Denise Johnson at the Claremont Club, who certainly have made our dream come true of taking the next step of doing a remodel of an existing part of the Claremont Club to create a 3000 ft.² facility, that became home in February of this past year to the first ever Project Walk franchise, Project Walk Claremont. At the end of 2013 the growth the Project Walk Claremont was astounding. The facility itself was already seeing huge growth with both staff, clientele, recognition and even the need to already expand and do another remodel where here in the first quarter of 2014 we will be doubling our floor space and adding another 2000 ft.² to our existing facility to put us right at 5000 ft.² of being able to help spinal cord injured victims. Currently the facility has grown to two full-time receptionists, Rebecca and Nancy, two full time aides, Kristen, that complement our wonderful six specialists on the floor, Shawn, Skye, Loren, Jenna, Tanya, and Dania who accompany 40 full-time clients in our program already at the end of year number one. This is beyond incredible to me and something I'm very proud to say that we are moving and growing in the right direction at a good and steady pace and I know that it is getting the incredible recognition that it deserves throughout the spinal cord injury sector as people are beginning to consider Project Walk Claremont as the cornerstone and pinnacle of what a model spinal cord injury facility to gain recovery is all about. This would not be made possible without the help of Mike Alpert and Denise Johnson wanted day-to-day basis make this dream come true of having the facility run smoothly and operate at the highest level. Within the project walk model we do not preach that you will walk again, but we do promise with hard work and determination the worst thing that can happen to you is that you are going to become healthier, reduce your chance of secondary complications, become physically fit, and most importantly a high mental capacity that will leave you with the utmost confidence to live a active and conducive lifestyle that is healthy to all individuals. And if all of this great happenings was not enough, the Be Perfect Foundation celebrated its Fifth Annual fundraiser in May, 2013 at yet again the Haffif Estate in north La Verne. The night was perfect to say the least, and record-breaking at anything else, as it was our first ever dressed themed event of, “These boots are made for walking”, cowboy theme. Simply because all of you made the night happened and another dream of mine come true. Over 1250 people attended, ready to line dance, at the Fifth Annual fundraiser which broke our previous record by 250 people, there were over 100 volunteers, close to 50 spinal cord injury friends in attendance, and over $300,000 raised, all of which 100% of the dollars going straight back to the foundation. The program was spectacular with guest appearances by team hot wheels, who provided some great wheel-chaired and able-bodied dancing, along with some great line dancing moves, a guest appearance by, Glee star, Ali Stroker who stole the show with an incredible singing performance in which the mothers who attended the event were honored the night before Mother's Day. And if all of this wasn't inspiring and moving enough as it is we tried to show our donors some tangible evidence that their dollars are being effective by highlighting eight of our clients up on stage and showing our audience an incredible 20 minute video about these clients recovery, and how be perfect has played such a vital role in changing their lives. The video “I'm still me” is still being raved about and watched by so many both on our new website, and on YouTube that it is simply moving every time you watch it. And if all of this wasn't enough as it is there was an incredible silent and live auction to complement it all and the night was capped off with some epic line dancing to the great brand the Silverado's. Needless to say, we are so proud of our upcoming event this year in September, which will be our Sixth Annual event, and we are so proud to have all of you back and show you what the past year has done to all who is involved with the Be Perfect foundation and we would love to invite you all out to the upcoming event. Please look out for our save the date card coming out in the mail here shortly, it's going to be another perfect event and we would love to see you all there. I'm so proud to say this as our incredible group of staff and board members who year in and year out volunteer their time to make this night and fundraiser happen are truly the reason why everything went so smoothly in the night even seized to exist. This whole experience is very humbling and makes me even feel better about it all when I can honestly say that 100% of our donors dollars are going directly back to helping those in need. We are one of the few nonprofits around that has a Board of Directors that doesn't collect a salary and is 100% volunteer-based. That means more of your dollars helping other people. We are so proud to say this and even with the expansion of our facility of Project Walk Claremont, this is 100% privately funded and none of our donors dollars are going towards bricks and mortar but merely 100% of the dollars are going directly back to keeping clients in our program at the facility in making the lives of others better through therapy and not through remodeling cost. The year continued on with so many great people throughout the year continuing to contribute and donate to be perfect that it is beyond my words and comprehension to really understand the value that all of you hold in my life and how all of you have got me through tough times and push me through adversity when I needed it the most. In July of this year, my grandfather passed away and it was something that was very hard on my family to both understand, comprehend, find closure with, and at times ask ourselves why him? But as firm believers in our faith and our trust with the reasons why things happen the way they do in life we found the light in it as a family and rallied together to truly try and make even a bigger difference with the understanding that giving is far better than receiving. This is a value and even a mantra that my family has lived by simply because of our upbringing by my grandfather Hargrave, as well as my grandmother and even my grandparents on my mother side with instilling these values within us as a family that the opportunity to give and help others is far sweeter than anything you could ever do for yourself and really brings perspective to my family and even my life of what's important. Since my grandfather has passed I certainly have stayed the course and My head on straight even beyond just the foundation but selfishly in my grades and with school with bringing forth my best semester yet in school, by applying myself and staying motivated throughout the semester to complete my fifth semester in a row of straight A's. At times people around me start to laugh at me with wondering why I worry so much about my grades, and them trying to explain to me that C’s get degrees, but I just simply tell them this is the type of person that I am and I know what I'm capable of and it's almost an internal competition with myself that I play to see that I can get these types of grades. It's almost indicative of life because grades exemplify what you got out of something, and I'm so keen on getting everything out of life that I can at this point because I and understand how sweet life is and how short it can be and how love ones are taken away from us in a split second, far earlier than they should ever be. So it's hard for me to say that my grandfather passed for no apparent reason, or for no moral significance after the fact because each and every day him and my grandmother who passed away three years ago play such a significant role in my day-to-day approach towards life that their legacies live on far beyond there dash. I refer to much of our lives on this earth based on the – in between the dates that we were both born and eventually pass away, because the – exemplifies the time that we spent on earth and simply how we spent that time changing the lives of other people. So with so much learned in 2013, and so much more to experience in 2014 I can only understand and only comprehend that life can get better from here, I can only make better decisions, I can only become more wise, and I can only be more appreciative for the things that I have in life because life is honestly perfect at this point. I couldn't ask for anything more, I couldn't ask for any more support, I couldn't ask for better people in my life, I can only offer up more of my life, more of my services, and more of my effort to help better the lives of others around me. And there is no starting or stopping point of where that begins and ends it is something that is instilled in me for the rest of my life and something that I will continue to do forever. There is no amount that is too much because there are constantly more people out there that need help and need me and you. We will do this together, we will continue to reach out and help more people, we will continue to spread the word, I will continue to public speak and share my knowledge to thousands that I encounter with, much like I did in 2013, but most importantly I will continue to be better for all of you, continue to work harder, continue to be smarter, and actively try to be perfect and be the best that I can be each day so I'm not leaving anything short and leaving anything on the table. I owe that to you, I owe that to him, I owe that to her, and I owe that to myself to never give up. You all now have my word, my heart, and my soul, that I will continue on, never stop, never be negative, always see the light and things, and always look forward to things getting better and making the best of each and every situation. I love you all and I can't wait for a great 2014, with so many public speaking engagements to attend, an expanded Project Walk facility, another Be Perfect event, and keeping my head on my toes for anything else that is thrown at me or all of us in 2014 so we can make the best of it. I love you all.. Stay you.. Stay perfect..
P.S.-My New Year's resolution is to be more active with updating my blog and keeping each and every one of you informed of my journey, and how be perfect is making a difference everywhere. I will inform all of you each time I go speak, each time I spread the word, and each time we change somebody's life throughout the year. Stay tuned in..