A wise person once said, "No one can do everything, but everyone can do something." The (super easy) causes I invest my time in and why.
We're So Darned Lucky
I am thankful. I know I am super fortunate to have the advantages I have, to have the community around me that I do - heck, to be born in a country that affords me certain luxuries merely because I am a citizen and my parents were too. Lucky me. Cuz it’s so true: many attributes of my life are in place because of choices I’ve made, but others are because of opportunities that I was given, and still others are really just because of luck.
I look at my children and I am filled with gratitude. These amazing humans!! They too are super lucky, and they know it. Possibly in part because I’ve been reminding them of that ever since they can remember:)
Because of this gratitude I feel, I’ve also always felt a deep responsibility to give back. To somehow karmic-ly balance things out a little. In small ways, in large ways, whatever ways I could manage. And hey, I’ll totally admit it: doing nice things for others feels pretty darn great too, so on some level it may be a little selfish. Brightening someone’s day, week, even life, can feel pretty great. So that’s a win-win, right?
Another inspiration, of course, for my giving to others was to be a positive example for those amazing little humans I'm so thankful for. I think this is pretty darned common for parents, right? It was vitally important to me that they understood from an early age:
how much they have,
how others sometimes don't have as much through no fault of their own,
that any of us can be helpful, no matter our size or age,
that we ALL can make giving to others a priority, and
it makes us feel pretty warm and fuzzy inside when we do helpful things for others.
Over the years, I've discovered and worked with quite a few philanthropies. There are some amazing ones out there!! I'm so inspired by those incredible individuals who identified a need, put a plan of action into place, and, with tons of hard work and focus - and a whole lot of heart - built a way to help others. To those people I say, Bless you!
Filling The Gap
Really, many philanthropies do just that: fulfill a basic need, a mere gap in the system that had been going unnoticed, and with this simple step of involving a volunteer to do a singular necessary task, amazing things are accomplished. Oh my gosh, I love that! Here are just a few examples.
The brilliant mind that understood the countless ways good reading skills help a child learn and grow, so they created a way for volunteers to simply, one on one, read books with a child each week.
The event planner with a family member in hospice care that noticed how much the occasional flower arrangement brightened a patient’s day and knew that SO many flowers get tossed long before their time and could be "recycled" and put into new arrangements.
The mom that noticed how much delicious food gets tossed into grocery store dumpsters each day, and asked if she could drive it to a local shelter instead.
The foster mother who was shocked at the almost-empty paper bag her new foster child showed up with. So she created a free store for foster kids to shop, not just for clothing that fit them properly, but for "cool" clothes so they wouldn't feel different from the other kids (dang it! that one gives me chills every single time).
I could go on for a while here, but you get the idea - simple ideas, absolutely magical results.
Making An Impact
Over the coming months, I will be writing in-depth about the philanthropies I hold closest to my heart. I'll explain their origins, my involvement with them, (hopefully) answer a few questions about them, and possibly inspire you to get in contact with them as well! Some opportunities are suited more toward adults, others are fantastic for kids, and still others work well for you to do with your kids as a team. Some are best for those who can commit every single week, others are great for a one-time visit. I genuinely hope that my work will entertain you (at the very least), but maybe even inspire you to try something new that you connect with, something that really pulls at your heartstrings. Or maaaybe, even trigger an idea in you for a brand new opportunity!?! That would be amazing, and I promise I would be the loudest one cheering you on!