In one of my + circles the other day there was an Occupy article, from Seattle, I think. It was thumbnailed with a picture of an elderly woman covered in pepper spray. Her nose dripping, her eyes red and puffy. I was pretty appalled. And disgusted. I expressed my disgust in a comment.
Mr. +Frank B commented back to me; “Change the world, kid”. LOVE it! Such a simple statement (one that I had to laugh at, I don’t consider myself a kid anymore) but oh the possibilities. 3 of those 4 words really got my mind reeling.
I have always looked at that, at changing the world, as part of my “job”, if you will. I am a mother. My children will be instilled with whatever I teach them. I want them to be moral, ethical, honest and kind. I want them to see right from wrong, even when there isn’t tangible evidence. That right and wrong you feel in your guts more than see with your eyes. My children may rebel, and sometimes it may seem like they are not getting it, but I know they are. I see it in their manners. The way they treat others. Compassion and kindness are part of each one of their daily lives.
But what of the bigger picture? What can be done by little old me and my tribe? That’s where the brainstorming (and this post) came in.
I began looking at the first resource, right in front of me still, my computer. There is a neat book, 365 Ways To Change the World. It gives an idea a day on the website, just small things that you can do every day that can be life changing to others: visiting an old folks home, telling stories on a children’s’ unit at your local hospital. I could see this as being a great dinner read. This would give us ideas for what we could do in addition to our advent wreath, which includes different volunteering activities that we all come up with.
The only problem with these small steps is that sometimes I have this….thing. I came upon it honestly, from my Dad, but I never quite feel like the little things are where I should stop.
Now, I’m far from politically savvy. I know about the Occupy movement, I agree with their reasoning. If they were working Madison, I would be there on the occasional weekend to support. When WI had the protests at the capital my then 12 year-old and I went down to Madison, marched with and talked to the protesters. I wanted her to see what happens when people get together for the good of all of us. To show her that we may only be 2, but our voices combined with all the others makes one helluva ruckus.
Knowing this about myself, that I’m not terribly political, led me to seek out other “world-changing” avenues for myself and my family. All of us are helpers. I tutor at school. My children both assist in the remedial reading classes and help out with the disabled kids at their schools. For us, seeing others succeed marks our own success as people. We also share a love of travel and exploration of other places and their cultures. Ever since I was a little I wanted to go somewhere and help with something. My mother’s boss created the Kenya school project, feeling a deep sense of responsibility to help those in need there. Her view, that sitting back and doing nothing was neglect in itself. I couldn’t agree more, and her influence was re-ignited in my soul with the challenge “Change the world, kid”.
Thus, I began looking. WOW what cool opportunities are out there! Here are a few I found worth looking into further:
Give and Surf– This organization works solely out of Bocas del Toro in Panama. Their initiatives revolve around strengthening the community. The building of a preschool and donation of books, building a playground for the children, beach clean-ups and the building and installation of rain water catching/usage systems for the people there. They also boast a host of different activities to enjoy along with the good feeling.
Cross Cultural Solutions – This foundation offers many different programs for people looking to volunteer. You can choose the location you would like to go to. There are family excursions, short and long time stays, as well as internship opportunities for those in Human Services, Healthcare, and Education. Bonus? They share links to many different scholarship and grant opportunities to allow those who couldn’t otherwise afford this to participate.
United Planet– Seemingly similar to Cross Cultural, this organization also offers opportunities in 40 countries that range from individual to group, one week to twelve. It looks as though they are more environmentally focused, offering animal protection and environmental programs along with their community based projects. They also have grants and other funding ideas.
Now that I am armed with some information, I need to dive in. Get in contact with the scholarship people. Think about fundraising. My tribe mau only be 4 (that are old enough to participate) but we have the ability to make a world of difference! Who’s with me??