Handshake America Celebration 2019

Celebrate what you’ve accomplished, but raise the bar a little higher each time you succeed.
— Mia Hamm

National Handshake Day is something to celebrate, especially if the name of your organization is named Handshake America! It falls on the fourth Thursday of June (the 27th this year) and for the Handshake Program, it’s a bit of a scheduling sweet spot. We thought this was a good time to provide a chance to bring people together (especially our Alumni, many of whom are on summer break or gearing up for their Freshman year). That is why we gathered for the Handshake America Day Celebration at the Franklin Park Conservatory last Thursday evening. It gave us the opportunity to bring people together, to bring awareness to our Program, and also to raise funds to keep the Program going and growing!

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The evening began with an elegant social hour where the students and alumni connected with sponsors, coaches, supporters and each other over drinks, food and delicious desserts by Nothing Bundt Cakes (yum!). Handshake Executive Director, Susan Gallogly, opened the Celebration by welcoming all the guests and handed the baton to Bill Jordan, President of DSW, a Designer Brands Company, who was this year’s Presenting Sponsor. Next, Tolu Omokore, Handshake intern, interviewed a panel of alumni on the impact of Handshake America and the focus on Perseverance, Passion, Positivity, People, and Presence on their lives and their outlook on life.

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From there we were entertained and inspired by keynote speaker, Jon Petz. “Significance in Simple Moments” was the title of the message he delivered through a touch of magic, a dash of number crunching, a pinch of clowning around, and a squeeze of lemon. Take risks – risk embarrassment, risk failure, risk investing in others, risk saying yes even when you feel under-qualified and less than adequate. You are not just you, you are you, and no one else is you. Do your magic even if your name is not David Copperfield because it’s YOUR magic, not his. Which lead us to the thought-provoking pinnacle of Jon’s presentation: the story of the Seven of Hearts. If you weren’t there for it, ask someone who was. It is truly worth your time.

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Doug and Tyler Probst (uncle and nephew, respectively) brought the evening to a close with a very special announcement. Roy Probst, Doug’s father, has established the Handshake America Endowment which will match donations up to $50,000! If you recognize the importance of what we’re doing together and would like to support the Program, your gift will have double the impact.

All in all, the venue was beautiful, the people were mingling, the food was delicious, and the messages inspiring.

Thank you to all who were a part of this Celebration! Enjoy National Handshake Day this year if for no other reason than because now you know it’s a thing. And now we’re making our thing!

Find pictures of the Celebration here!