Had it not been for a few very special people, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

People like Bayard Rustin, Sidney Hillman, and Frances Perkins inspired me to follow my passion and helped shape my values.

I’ve always wanted to say thanks, so last week I did. And it felt good to finally say it.

But I couldn’t believe the outpouring of responses we received from our members.

Freelancers from across the country reaching out to each other, to their 4th grade teachers, famous authors, and their students -- just to say simply, “Thanks for the Spark.”

I was touched to see such gratitude.

We all have those people who made a difference in our lives -- and most of them will never know it. For our members, I’m glad to say that’s not the case.

Here are some of my favorites:

#ThanksForTheSpark Carol Peligian, the best teacher I ever had: http://t.co/p3uTreLV38 @freelancersu @parsonsadmiss

— Brian Wood (@brianwood) August 18, 2014

@Sara_Horowitz #ThanksForTheSpark I think the person who inspired me to become a journalist was @ThePattiSmith.

— Kat Friedrich (@eco_journalist) August 17, 2014

Shout out to @justinkemerling, the first person I met dedicated to making design work for the greater good, full time. #ThanksForTheSpark

— Kevin M. Fitzgerald (@kfitzfitz) August 15, 2014

Ms. Hands my high school art teacher. Believed in me, pushed me, & helped me build my college portfolio #thanksforthespark. <3

— Stevie (@StevieNYC) August 14, 2014

To the chap from the @salvationarmyuk who ended a school assembly with these five words - You Can Make A Difference. #ThanksForTheSpark

— Clair R (@clair_rigby) August 15, 2014

Ms. Pamela Stith, Pomona Catholic High School - she put great novels in my hands, encouraged my writing & my snark so - #ThanksForTheSpark

— citizenrobot (@citizenrobot) August 14, 2014

To Mr. Rick Powell, who in 7th grade told me my writing was something every time he read our assigned journal entries #ThanksForTheSpark

— Carolina Longoria (@carocarocaro_) August 14, 2014

@freelancersu My kindergarten, 1st, 2nd and 4th grade teachers encouraged me to write. I still do! #ThanksForTheSpark

— Herb'n Maid (@herbnmaid) August 14, 2014

My art teacher in highschool gave me every opportunity and encouragement to go beyond where I could've on my own #ThanksForTheSpark

— Rebecca Overstreet (@RDOverstreet) August 13, 2014

My 3rd gr tchr helped me love writing, my 8th gr tchr showed me what I could do with it, @SueCampbell_ pushed me. #ThanksForTheSpark

— John Bray (@fishsticked) August 13, 2014

**Who influenced you to follow your passion? It’s never too late to say #ThanksForTheSpark! **