Keishia speaks

Does Recognition Matter? LifeChangers Tell Us It Does

We so appreciate the incredible work that the dedicated educators of America do every day that we sponsor LifeChanger of the Year, a program that recognizes anyone who works in a K-12 school.

But we sometimes wonder how important that recognition is to them. So we asked. And we thought it was worth sharing what some of our winners had to say.

They are incredibly appreciative of the national recognition, as well as the appreciation, we are able to give them. Our finalists get the opportunity to attend an awards excursion trip, this year in Kauai, Hawaii, and spend time sharing ideas and learning from one another. It is also a great opportunity for them to understand just how important educators are to National Life and to our agents who serve them throughout the country.

Lori Kwee, one of this year’s finalists from Honolulu, Hawaii says that: “as an educator being recognized for excellence; this once-in-a-lifetime event was exponentially meaningful.”

This sentiment was mirrored by Jennifer Lemoine from Aurora, Colorado, another one of our finalists. For so many school employees all across America, the job is often a thankless one. It’s not about the paycheck or recognition, it’s about making a difference. But a little appreciation can go a long way.

“During the trip I was approached daily by members of the conference thanking me for all I do and asking more about my story,” Jennifer said.  “I felt valued and appreciated as an educator and I cannot tell you how amazing it feels to know that all your hard work and extra efforts are being recognized.”

The LifeChanger awards excursion strives to provide our finalists with a balance of networking, learning workshops and opportunities to relax and celebrate. On one of the days, the LifeChangers got to hear keynote speaker Alden Mills discuss life challenges and triumphs. Mills is a longtime entrepreneur, founder of Perfect Fitness, a three-time Navy SEAL platoon commander, speaker, and author of Unstoppable Teams and Be Unstoppable. He develops high-impact leaders in business and in the military.

Some of the LifeChanger winners and their family pose for a photo at the event. Photo at top, grand prize winner Keishia Thorpe speaks at the awards dinner.

The second half of the day was focused on a bonding experience; a kayaking excursion on the Wailua River.

The following day, grand prize winner Keishia Thorpe of Langley Park, Maryland, and Lori attended a workshop on emotional intelligence, which was an enlightening and valuable lesson. Lori even took it to the next level and when she got back home and presented what she had learned to staff at her school. While she was in Hawaii, Keishia spent time with her students using Google classrooms when she could not sleep.

Some of the most important parts of the trip are the connections the educators made while they were in Hawaii. And they also appreciated being able to tell their story and how they made a positive impact in their community.

Keishia reminded us of the importance of being able to tell people who you are authentically. She also said that she felt empowered thanks to the platform she was given to share her story and how much happiness it brought when having people come up to her telling her how much they could relate.

She wanted to leave these words of wisdom with us: “No matter how young or old you are, never stop imagining a future and share those ideas with people around you to allow them realize their own dreams. What we imagine in our minds ultimately becomes our world. Let your imagination become a legacy.”

Lori felt lifted and inspired hearing Keishia share her endeavors and the way she gives back to her students, which allows them to attend college.

Jennifer said: “Spending time with like-minded, positive people who strive to make a difference in the world gave me time to recharge and be ready to come back to my community and continue striving toward positive change for my students.” She also shared that meeting all these individuals will have a lasting impact on her life.