Awakening a legacy at age 60… and beyond

When Susan Rickert celebrated her 60th birthday and all five children were raised, educated and out the door, she declared to her husband Tom, “I’m out the door to see the world.”
Rickert was no bus-riding tourist. She focused instead on her long-standing love affair with Tanzania, where she had spent two years in the Peace Corps as a primary school teacher in a remote, isolated bush village in the 1960’s. When Rickert revisited the Bashay Primary School in the Karatu region, she saw a wing of the school that had a dirt floor, and no windows, doors or a roof.
It was “pivotal moment that changed my life.” She was so moved she collected the money for the new roof on the spot. She’s been raising money and supporting projects that help village children ever since.
Trips to other remote villages in Tanzania and the Amazon followed. When she arrives at a village, she asks two questions:  “What do you need?  How can I help?”  Once the local villagers select the project, she pledges to raise the money and return in a year to see how the project is progressing.
Rickert will be guest speaker as the women’s forum, “Awakening Your Legacy – Big Ideas and Rich Conversations with Women,” continues August 25.
“Legacy” producer Carole Peccorini said that with the lecture series, “We are pursuing the question of how do women find what is truly theirs to do – something that brings their most unique gift to the world and fulfills their personal destiny, plus makes a big contribution.”
With Rickert as the guest speaker, Peccorini said, “We are looking at how this occurred for someone older.’
Rickert’s is an inspiring story, and an impressive effort at any age. Over the ten years since she turned 60, Rickert has raised over $300,000 and funded new classrooms, schools, roofs, kitchens, dining halls, first-aid clinics and scholarships for thousands of children both in Tanzania and now also along the Amazon River.
As Rickert works on her African and Amazon projects daily from her home in San Francisco, she is also a very engaged grandmother of seven.  “I’m not a wealthy woman,” she writes. “I’m just like you.”
Each month’s event is held at Ramekins Culinary School and Event Center.  It includes a freshly prepared meal by the Ramekins Chef, an interview with a thought leader and thoughtful conversations among women guests about dreams that light up their own lives.
The program and dinner begin at 5:45 pm with a cash bar and end at 9 p.m.  Tickets are $60 per person, $62 online with advanced registration only by August 16.  For more contact sonomabigideas.blogspot.com or 996.2167.


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