“How lovely to think that no one need wait a moment:
we can start now, start slowly changing the world!
How lovely that everyone, great and small,
can make a contribution toward introducing justice straight away." -Anne Frank
Everyone has watched one of those “home improvement shows to change your life” at least once. These shows are always tear-jerkers that are geared at making us all more interested in giving back to those that might have less. (Or at least showing us what kind of extreme construction can be done on homes in a very short period of time.) The families on these shows are always carefully chosen and the storytelling is always emotional. But in the end what is accomplished is that a huge impact is made on a local family and the community around them is touched.
This kind of impact might not seem possible to the average joe but I can assure you that we can all go out and make an impact in ways we may not realize.
It’s no secret that I spend a lot of time volunteering for various local organizations in Wyandotte and around the state of Michigan. While not everyone has the time to be as involved as I may be in the community, I would like to share a recent story of an event I participated in that changed my perspective in how we can contribute to activism every day.
At my job, as at many other workplaces, there is an active community awareness/community service program that we are all encouraged to participate in. Often times this program involves just making a donation to a cause or volunteering some time at a soup kitchen, etc. This year, my company decided to participate in something that truly stands out as impactful to society. A movement/charity started recently called Aaron’s Last Wish. Aaron Collins died at the age of 30 in July 2012. In his will he indicated that all he wanted was for his family to go out and make a real impact on someone by ordering a pizza and leaving a $500 tip.
My coworkers were very touched by this story and decided to collect all of the money we had made through soda can recycling and other donations; then take the money and have a lunch at a local establishment and give a $500 tip to a random employee. We held this lunch last week and sure enough, the waitress that we tipped mentioned that she was extremely touched by the donation. That morning she realized that she wouldn’t have had enough money to buy formula for her daughter until after work that day. This changed her life.
Sure. We can be cynical about the situation. Maybe she won’t use the money for the right things or maybe some people might rather have the money go to a “more deserving charity or cause”. The hidden benefit of this particular cause is that an act of kindness goes a long way. This young woman didn’t know what would happen to her on that day at work but this act of kindness has changed her perspective. The next time someone she comes across needs help or if she is called on to make an impact in the community aren’t the chances of her participating much more likely now?
While we may not all have $500 to giveaway at random, consider a random act of kindness as a way to actively volunteer your time for a cause that you believe in. Maybe giving someone that extra change they need for the parking meter or helping an old lady cross the street. The spirit inspired in these home improvement shows and by Aaron’s Last Wish is the wish for a proactive and caring society. Compassionate members of society bring proactive citizens that participate in the change we need in our communities.
Consider taking time to make a small impact today.