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With a little help, Jasmine surprises her grandfather with the trip of a lifetime
By Ashley Reynolds
Dreams aren’t always rooted in the future — and Jasmine Parsons is proof! For as long as she can remember, she and her grandfather, Jim Bernatow, have bonded over their shared passion of learning all they can about their culture and family history. For them, connecting with their past and staying close to their roots has become an integral part of their present and future.
Here’s the story: Jasmine’s great-great grandparents immigrated to the United States from Lithuania in the early 1900’s, leaving much of their family and culture behind. And, because of some strained family ties, their history remains quite a mystery. So, not being able to discover the information they crave here in the states, the next step to pursuing their shared dream seemed a no-brainer to Jasmine — travel to Lithuania!
What an awesome dream. But a big one at that! And being a college senior at the time, she wasn’t expecting her dream to become reality any time soon. That is until she met Mitch Matthews at a BIG Dream Gathering. Upon hearing her story and becoming inspired by her passion and selflessness, Mitch granted her the first Dream Boost Scholarship, allowing her to surprise her grandfather with the trip of a lifetime.
“About three years ago, I started thinking about how cool it would be to take my grandfather to Lithuania since this is something we’ve shared for so long. And winning the Dream Boost Scholarship made that a reality!” says Jasmine. “Surprising my grandfather was definitely one of the most rewarding parts of this experience because he had never thought to dream this big.”
From eating traditional Lithuanian cuisine to taking in the major sites and exploring the streets their ancestors once walked, their trip was truly an immersive experience they’ll never forget. And now, their culture doesn’t seem so far away.
“It made our history seem more tangible, and now when we talk about our family or the country we came from, we can draw on real experiences to share with others,” says Jasmine.
Now, after graduating, kicking off her career and starting the next phase of her life, Jasmine will always take the experience with her, saying that going on this trip has only fueled her desire to keep on dreaming.
“It is such an amazing feeling to accomplish a dream that you’ve had for a while, especially one you didn’t think would happen anytime soon, and now I’m hooked!” she explains. “Having been connected to Mitch and the Big Dream Gathering team, I’m more inspired now than ever to always set aside time for the things that make me happy and keep me going every day.”
But the help she received through the scholarship and the inspiration she gained from Mitch weren’t the only reasons she was able to accomplish her goal — she’s a dreamer at heart and has what it takes to truly pursue her passions! Being someone we can all learn from, she has some advice for those who may be struggling to get their goals off the ground.
“Pursuing your dreams can often be difficult and scary, especially if you have no idea where to start. One of the biggest pieces of advice I can give is to simply have conversations about your dreams,” she encourages. “Don’t be afraid to let people know what you’re passionate about and what you want out of life.”
Beyond taking the first steps and gaining confidence in your goals, Jasmine says it takes a certain mentality to really make it across that finish line — and it doesn’t involve staying in your comfort zone.
“It is so easy to get comfortable with the life you have and the things you’ve done so far. But if you get out there and push yourself, you can accomplish amazing things and bring that much more happiness to your life! Keep on dreaming and challenging yourself, and work towards living the kind of life you’ve always wanted to live,” she concludes. And what better advice is there than that?
The BIG Dream Gathering helped Jasmine in her dream pursuit, and now it’s here to help you! Check out www.bigdreamgathering.com to learn more about this inspiring event and mark your calendar for when they’ll be in your city.
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You can learn a lot from other dreamers, even if your goals seem completely different.