|Posted on August 31, 2017 at 1:10 PM|
One of my earliest formative experiences was the power of giving during the holiday season. My two brothers and I would buy Christmas gifts for kids our own age, wrap them up, and drop them off at a local organization. My heart was full with how doing something so easy for us would result in huge smiles for another on Christmas morning.
Conscious advocacy and volunteering my time has always been an ongoing passion. I’ve donated my time and marketing expertise to help a local hunger non-profit elevate their profile in the community and increase their fundraising efforts. A friend and I volunteered regularly at a soup kitchen on Sunday mornings; we chopped veggies for chili, made sandwiches with donated ingredients, and helped serve meals to a long line of homeless citizens. Through community outreach efforts, I’ve stood in front of groups of young women educating them about sexual violence prevention, and facilitated sensitive conversations about rape, power, and control.
As an ESL teacher, I’ve volunteered in classrooms to help international adult students learn English, and I have worked with very basic learners all the way up to more advanced groups. I’ve sat across from women eagerly learning colors for the first time, as well as the names of rooms in their houses. I’ve been put on the spot by very curious advanced students wanting to understand English idioms, such as why “the ball is in your court” or “that’s the way the cookie crumbles” or what it means “to catch somebody red-handed." You think you know English well - until you teach it!
My conscious advocacy turned global in graduate school as I chose my Master’s thesis to focus on the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, which are eight quantifiable and measurable goals aimed at reducing extreme global poverty.
Every country on the planet and all of the world’s leading institutions have agreed to participate and/or support these eight goals. My deep-dive research, which was conducted back in 2006 and 2007, revealed many amazing projects that are happening around the globe, including the Millennium Villages Project that helps rural villages transition to sustainable, integrated life solutions they can maintain on their own. Currently, 500,000 people in 14 sites across 10 countries are involved in this project.
The Millennium Development Goals are not well known because they’re not ‘sexy’ or driven by a celebrity, but they are transforming the world. Right now. As you sit here reading this, people are receiving mosquito nets to prevent the spread of malaria; tapping into fresh water for their village; giving birth in healthy conditions, and learning about their human rights for the first time. Amazing, right?
So giving back and helping our global sisters and brothers in practical ways has always been a priority. Even when life was incredibly busy and I didn’t have room for one more thing on my plate, I was searching for an organization that I felt a strong connection to based on this criteria:
- Efforts resulted in sustainable, practical life changes;
- Personal connections of some sort were encouraged and developed;
- People who are genuinely interested and committed to improving their lives and creating their dreams are supported.
Women for Women International is an organization that meets my personal criteria and also supports the efforts of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.
Being selected as an Ambassador is an incredible honor, and deeply inspires me to spread the word about their incredible program.
I'll be sharing more success stories and updates through email and social media, and hopefully inspiring YOU to participate in our global efforts as well. Online events and fundraising goals will also be shared.
We are very lucky to live in a time when we have so much to be grateful for. And we're blessed to be able to support others in improving their lives and creating their dreams, too!