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Lasagna. Food for the soul.

What fuels a revolution is the anonymous extraordinaries, the hundreds and thousands of people you have never heard of. These individuals work hard to make things happen…often one interaction at a time. It is these individuals—their ability to create opportunities for interpersonal moments and to open hearts and move minds—who change the world view. The chance to hear a personal voice for reform requires a brave soul… willing to perform small acts of sharing. When we come across them, anonymous extraordinaries inspire us, help us to embrace change; they boost our confidence.

Carl Lasagna Minns, Oaksterdam’s Prime Ambassador, seemed fearless. He would smile and strike up a conversation with anyone, anywhere, about the topics he loved… classic cars, saving the trees, and cannabis. One would lead to the other (often the best way to ease into difficult subjects). Find common ground most people can agree with, a familiar concept like cars, or lasagna, and then bring them with you as you tell a story about a new idea or a recipe for change.

As I listened to folks remember Carl Lasagna, I realized how much we didn’t know about Carl while he was with us. What I learned about his passions and his impact beyond Oaksterdam, came from the people who loved him at his memorial service. In a single car accident into a tree, Carl died with two of the three things that he loved most. He will be terribly missed, but not forgotten. Carl and his Model T lives on in the Oaksterdam Advocacy class…to remind us how advocacy should be done. One conversation at a time, with anyone, anywhere. Feeds the soul, like an Italian grandmother’s lasagna fills the belly.

What drives you? What makes your heart sing? That’s what your dance is. Whatever you want in life, chase after it with all your heart and everything you have. Make it personal. I finally learned just this year…it is not about what people think about you, just worry about what actions you inspire. Don’t be ashamed of your passion, for it is only those who are passionate about what they do who can possibly expect to inspire others to join them in their quest.

I am finally showing who I am, and why we do this, rather than throwing facts and figures about why you should care. We simply need to say “why I care” to inspire others to join us with renewed vigor. To those who have been with us for years, THANK YOU. For those who have just joined, enjoy the ride… for there is never a dull moment! What keeps me pushing on are you anonymous extraordinaries. We are only getting better together.

Dale headshot thumbnail 2Dale Sky Jones
Executive Chancellor
Oaksterdam University