Recently I've gotten very into philanthropy. It's not that I am a person who has a ton of money, and I'm sure if I posted my college loan statements all over my room I would suddenly stop feeling so generous. It's just that lately, I've been feeling very inspired to do great things and make a difference in any way that I can.
Before this year, my 30+ hour work week was devoted to saving up for my semester abroad in London. Now, while my income should probably be devoted to creating a rainy day fund to protect myself should I happen to graduate unemployed, it is instead being used for small things here and there to help others who are less fortunate.
One of the causes I recently donated to was The Greater Boston Food Bank's turkey fundraiser. A donation of $16 was enough to provide a turkey to a family in need on Thanksgiving. It is such a great cause that I couldn't resist.
My newest philanthropic effort was the office Giving Tree. Each year, DSS sends the CSR team a list of children and their two top wishes for Christmas. The mistake I made was reading through all of them, which made me appreciate more than ever all of the great experiences and privileges that life has thrown my way. The little girl I shopped for is three years old, and her wish for Christmas was a baby doll. I naturally had to go out and buy the doll that came with a carriage and other fun stuff. I also couldn't help but throw in a hat and gloves and a few extra toys. In addition to this drive, I am also working on the Toys for Tots campaign at my other job, and am fairly certain I'll be making a few donations to that this year as well.
Despite the efforts I've made in the past month or two, an experience this weekend made my heart sink. As I drove back to the city from Thanksgiving Break, I noticed a woman standing on the side of a busy street holding a sign. She wasn't begging for money. She wasn't asking for food. She was simply holding a sign that said "Struggling to make ends meet. Have part time job and seeking another. Resume on hand." I'm not sure of it was her desperation, or the fact that there was nothing I could do to help her that resonated most, but I haven't stopped thinking about it. Here is a person, willing to work, not asking for money, not occupying Wall Street, just asking for a chance. I'd have given her one of my jobs if I could have. And as I reflect on it, I'm even upset with myself for not stopping and taking her resume or trying to help.
As I think about her, I just hope that maybe some of the other efforts I've made are helping her in some way. Maybe she was one of those families, above the poverty level, but unable to afford a Thanksgiving dinner, that a Turkey was donated to. Or maybe one of the toy donations will go to her child. Perhaps I'll have another chance to take her resume in a week or so when I drive past again. All I know is that I'm becoming quite the advocate for philanthropy these days, and I just wish more people out there were willing to help.
After spending three years building my resume with internships, jobs and extracurricular activities, it’s time to start thinking about the real world. I had some great feedback about the blog I kept in London, although it lasted only a few weeks. I’m going to do my best to use this blog to chronicle the experiences of my senior year, balancing 30hrs/week of work, a full time class schedule and what I’d like to consider a blossoming social life… All while hoping and praying I’ll land the job of my dreams by the time I graduate. Can I do it? Let’s hope.