Disclaimer: If you have never heard me talk about CARPOOL, these videos will explain to you what it is and how it is fabulous. Also, I linked to CP about a million times, because I wanted you to be tempted to click on it and learn about how it is truly awesome.

The CARPOOL GALA was last weekend in College Station. This year it was in The Zone at Kyle Field, it is an amazing venue. Going back every year to celebrate CARPOOL always makes me feel very grateful to have been a part of the organization. It is still one of the best things I have ever personally been apart of.

Last year, CARPOOL ran out of money. The staff had to stop operations for the first few weeks of the Spring semester. The organization got so much support from the Aggie community and was able to raise $115,000 in the Spring alone. It never ceases to amaze me what a determined group of people can do. The current staff, of which I no longer know a soul, is working to create a buffer of funds. They hope to have enough money to pay for two years out, instead of just the next couple of weeks.

The vice-chair (Ryan Mieras) gave a speech about how CARPOOL has impacted him. While CP has impacted thousands and thousands of people (the website currently states they have given 183,658 rides home), it also profoundly impacts the people who chose be members and pursue a leadership role. At the age of 20, I had a group of 25 people to lead. At the age of 21-22, I was in charge of fundraising efforts and led operational nights. We organized who would drive, who would go out to bars, we organized calls, and what to do if something went wrong. I planned a 5k and wrote grants (I raised lots of dough – still proud). JMO built a caller record/ride sort program and built the website. We were running a business, and not really a small one. CARPOOL is expensive to run, we maintained donor relations, obtained sponsors, and begged for money. CP was an amazing learning experience, I grew tremendously as a person. The experiences I had will never be forgotten, and I am proud of the person CP help mold me into.

So, basically CARPOOL rocks.

GALA helps make money for CARPOOL, and it is fun… here are a few pictures from the evening….

GALA 2011

Mrs. Oswalt and her fabulous new bench.

Gala 2011

JMO and his fabulous mother.

GALA 2011

JMO and his fabulous girlfriend.

P.S. CARPOOL ROCKS. If you watch this video, you can see me for all of 2 seconds on a computer, and JMO for all of 2 seconds on the phone, we are much younger. Plus awesome quotes from Jeff, the founder, at the end.

CARPOOL. Best Organization ever.

Saturday evening JMO and I attended the CARPOOL Gala. It was more enjoyable two years out of school than it was one year out. Last year it made me miss CARPOOL, miss the experiences, the friends, the feeling of satisfaction and being important. This year, I felt old and although I still greatly miss being a member and a leader in the organization I now feel intense pride in being part of the history of the safe ride program.

CARPOOL is truly unique, not only in what they do, giving anyone a ride home that needs it, but the collection of people that make it happen. I’m proud to write them a check and I’m proud to introduce myself to a current member as a former member. I still beam with pride when I explain to coworker what I spent my college years doing. I learned more from CARPOOL than I’ve learned from school or my job. CARPOOL taught me how to manage people, manage funds, manage rides and cars. CARPOOL brought be closer to the friends I made freshman year and made me countless more. When JMO and I started dating, I told him it would never work because it was not worth feeling weird at CARPOOL. Turns out it didn’t make CP weird.

If you want to donate to CARPOOL. It would make me happy.