Kelly Belanger Harris

Tell us about your family.
My husband Clark Belanger and I have one daughter, Gigi, a rising second grader at Central Elementary. I have a 15-year-old daughter Aine (pronounced “Awnya”) from my first marriage, who chose to stay in Florida with her father when we moved to Virginia.
My extended family lives in Louisa County.
Tell us about a hobby you have.
I love to garden. I’m so excited to move into our new house because it has such great possibilities for new flower and herb gardening.
And I’m an unabashed book nerd.
Describe one of the highlights of your life.
In 1998 I was working at Madison House in Charlottesville when the University of Virginia hosted the Nobel Peace Laureates Conference. Among others, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his holiness the Dalai Lama were in attendance. At several points during each of the days of the conference, the laureates would appear informally. One day I happened to be nearby as they were exiting a lecture. I was in the right place at the right time when the Dalai Lama walked over, placed his hands on my head, and blessed me. Pretty heady stuff! And humbling as well. There are practicing Buddhists who are persecuted for revering his holiness for whom this would have been true spiritual bliss. All I did was walk to the end of a line of similarly privileged folks and wait. I don’t take that for granted.
Describe one of the biggest surprises of your life.
Having children. I’m actually a pretty decent parent. (Just don’t ask my teenager!)
Describe one of the tragedies/struggles of your life.
Hmmm. I don’t know that I’ve ever had any tragedies. Struggles – lots of internal ones. I’m not competitive at all. Except with myself. Always trying to be better, do better. And not get overwhelmed in perfection-seeking.
Describe a dream you have for your future.
World peace. Financial security. Seeing my children find happiness. Little things like that. Leaving the world a little bit better (or a lot better, I’m not picky) than I found it.
Describe a fear you have for your future.
That my children are inheriting a world of scarce resources that are becoming scarcer. That the divisiveness I see daily will continue to spiral out of control and my children will live in an unstable society.
Here’s your chance to sound off.  If you could give one public service announcement or word of advice to the public at large, what would it be?
We belong to each other…regardless of our political or religious differences, the color of our skin, or the country of our birth. The things that are different about us are miniscule compared to the things we have in common. Take care of each other.

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