As you move forward on your own path of making your life less the one you don't want and more the one you do, work in a little time and/or money to help someone else on the same route. We all do better when we all do better.
As we're all learning from discardian acts and small habit changes, the little stuff adds up, so notice that the same can apply to huge efforts like eliminating poverty and debilitating health conditions.
There are some great inspirations in this area – I'm a long-time fan and donator to Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter's Carter Center, for example – and the latest one in the news is Bangladeshi microloan pioneer, Muhammad Yunus, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. I really like microcredit a lot as a concept and am active in it through Kiva, where I am an investor to a man named George Bomboko in Uganda. I put in $25 of the $450 he needed to start his business and he's already paid back about a third of that 4 months in on his 12-14 month loan period. I feel great about helping him out and about having this direct connection to someone else in another part of the world and am glad to know that even when I can only spare a few dollars, I can be doing something valuable.
On a local scale there are often good programs to provide emergency housing, showers, assistance with resume writing, etc. which can offer the kind of small help that allows someone having a hard time to get or keep a job. Just volunteering for them for a day or making a little donation of small things that will be handy for people who are homeless – disposable safety razors & travel packets of shaving cream, for instance – can give enough of a boost to help make someone feel things are getting better instead of worse.
Where do you like to make a difference? Are there organizations you donate to or volunteer with that you'd like to recommend? Chime in in the comments – and go make a little difference today somewhere!
4 thoughts on “Get inspired by a hero”
I spend each Monday and Tuesday evening volunteering at a women’s federal prison. One night I teach a beginning drawing class and the other I help facilitate an AA meeting. I also help find yarn donations for a prison project that’s is near and dear to my heart, and fits right in with the Discardian philosophy.
The Yarn Project, as it is called, is a volunteer effort by inmates to produce warm knitted and crocheted items for needy school children in the area. The prison is smack-dab in the middle of Appalachia, and they can’t help every needy child, but each year at Christmas between 40 and 60 grade-schoolers receive a sweater, scarf, hat and mittens from women who don’t know them, but want to help.
This is a win-win-win situation: Needleworkers always seem to have leftover yarn, the inmates always need it and have no resources to buy it, and the children get something warm, pretty and new to wear.
I’ve talked with many inmate participants who intend to continue this mission upon their release. Whether they do or not is another story, but at least they have a moment of feeling like they’re doing something good for someone else.
Shrinking Knitter — does that charity that accepts yarn have an address or website? Do they take finished objects too?
speaking of microloans, i’m a big fan of kiva (http://www.kiva.org).
notes from the sfist:
With Kiva, you are a direct lender to a specific small business in one of the countries it works within — currently Tanzania and Uganda. And then, ultimately, you get your money back (without interest — don’t be greedy), all the while receiving updates about the progress of your business. The personal touch here is a winner.
For Mary: Check in your own back yard first for places to donate yarn. Youth facilities, senior citizens’ centers, correctional institutions and day care centers are good places to start. Our program does not accept completed objects. Please e-mail me at shrinkingknitter AT citynet DOT com and I’ll give you an address where you can send donations if you don’t find something locally.