Image via Elaine Casap
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I can better contribute. I’m not sure if it’s the holiday season, or having children who I certainly want a better world for, but the importance of being involved has been something that’s been constantly on my mind.
I come from a line of women who were pioneers for their time. My great-grandma Loretta helped start Habitat for Humanity and was one of the first nurses to advocate for vaccinations in the state of Michigan. During the height of the Detroit race riots, my grandma Mary Kay, with my young mom in tow, went into the heart of inner city locations and cleaned houses to help break down racial tension barriers. Today, my mom works for Eton Academy, a school that helps children with learning disabilities, and she’s a part of Impact 100, which is a community of women who raise money and award grants to impactful non-profits. I think about their contributions, big and small, and I’m proud.
There’s more. Two of my best friends, Kristina and Jessica, are heading to Washington D.C. in January to march for women’s rights. Just because. My brother Dave is in the U.S. Navy, and on top of his duties, frequently volunteers at the hospital. My step-sister Mandy, who served in the Peace Corps for years, currently works at a coffee shop in downtown Detroit called Coffee and ___. The community hub they’ve created for the neighborhood entices more people to move and stay downtown, which then helps to drive the economy. Amazing, right?
These are all great examples of the mini-movements happening all around me that ladder up to big changes.
Then I think about myself. Am I doing enough? Certainly not. In fact, I’ve realized I haven’t even scratched the surface. Opportunities for action are everywhere; yet with how busy life can be, it’s so easy to say, “Another day.”
So what now? The intent is there, but doing something means more than having good intentions. It means taking action. While I certainly feel that expenditure time is limited, there are things that everyone can do to make a difference. Things like donating to important causes is one of those that takes little time and yet has a huge impact.
Beyond donating more frequently, one of my goals for 2017 is to pick an organization and get more involved. It’s important for me to prioritize time for volunteering – even if all I can squeeze is one day a month. I know that every little bit counts. While that exact organization that I devote time to in 2017 is still to be determined, the thought of it is exciting. I’ve been knee-deep in researching organizations, both locally and nationwide. I’m curious, do you suggestions for organizations you’ve heard about, or volunteer for, that you would recommend? I’d love to hear your ideas!