There's nothing sweeter to a parent than realizing that despite middle school angst and teenage traumas, your child - strike that, your young adult - has turned out better than you could possibly have hoped. Because he (or she) has discovered what it means to serve others.
This Spring has gotten off to an especially sweet start for me because my son Harrison, a freshman at the University of California at San Diego, is spending his Spring Break in the highlands of Guatemala helping build a school in a poverty-stricken rural area. Never a party animal, I knew my son wouldn't spend his week hanging out playing video games, but I hardly expected him to volunteer to get four inoculations and go wield a hammer for seven days.
Yep, I'm a proud mom all right. And given my son's charitable nature, it's really made me think about the service I'm doing for others. Am I giving enough? Are my volunteer efforts making a difference? There's so much we can all do from providing financial aid, to offering volunteer time, to connecting people with the resources they need. But if you're like me, it's often happenstance. I confess, I'm an emotional activist, reacting to the earthquake in Haiti by donating to the Red Cross. Or sponsoring a family member (yes, Harrison again) in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life. Or, sometimes, just by giving money to a homeless person on the street.
But I think it's high time I made my efforts, humble as they are, less happenstance and more intentional. So, in Harrison's honor, I'm going to do what he's been bugging me to do since he was thirteen. I'm going to launch my LIBBY CARES campaign and I'm asking for your advice.
Many of you are far more strategic about service and philanthropy than I am and I really need your help. Please comment on this blog and let me know how I can best go about institutionalizing my efforts at making a difference. Is it by continuing to contribute to one-off to events and organizations? Is it by aligning with a non-profit where I can become a strategic advisor on branding and communications? Or is by rallying you to help me with specific efforts, like the T-shirt drive we did for an orphanage in Kenya?
Please let me know your thoughts because, well, I really do care. Especially about causes that affect women and children, education and the mentally ill. Let me know what you're doing in your life to make the world a better place. And how I can most powerfully spring into service for others. Many thanks in advance for your service!
Thanks again to Angie Horejsi for her beautiful photo!