Since the concept of e-Partners in Giving came to me, I've been talking about "giving back." I've been preaching to people that this is their chance to do just that.
I actually wrote this verbiage for our web site:
"At e-Partners in Giving, we believe that the impact of our wake has the potential to be much more significant than the actual splash we make in our lives. That is why it is our privilege to help with this self-sacrificing opportunity. We want to provide you the necessary tools so you can firmly place the emphasis on a person, event, or organization you hold close to your heart."
Wow! That's good stuff.
The only problem ... I wasn't walking the walk. It was just a bunch of talk. I personally wasn't "giving back" like I should.
(Cue a big slap across the face)
Sure, I spent time at a local homeless shelter on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve last year, but I didn't dedicate to being there every Thursday night, serving dinner or passing out toiletry items that most of us take for granted.
At church, Tanya and I try to put an offering in the collection plate every Sunday, but that's only when one of us is actually carrying cash. (Which isn't very often.)
(Slap with an Amen!)
If I had a friend running or walking for a cause, I might donate a few bucks, but I wouldn't roll out of bed at 4 o'clock in the morning and help mix-up powdered Gatorade.
(Cue another slap AND add a punch to the gut.)
Even if e-Partners in Giving stumbles and falls (again ... we don't like talking like that, but it helps to make a solid point), I have already received a tremendous wake up call.
It's time for me to start giving back.
Here is a list of things that I have done over the last couple of weeks:
(NOTE: The following items are just the tip of the iceberg. I plan on taking "my giving" to a whole new level.)
• I filled out my application to be a Big Brother for Big Brother Big Sisters. (The next step is the interview process.)
• I decided to be a regular volunteer at the Presbyterian Night Shelter in Fort Worth. Every Tuesday night – starting this week (June 10th) – I will serve dinner at Safe Haven, the mentally ill shelter, for one hour. Then I will volunteer for one hour at the Shelter Dispensary, helping distribute those before-mentioned toiletry items.
• I submitted my application to produce the monthly newsletter for the American Red Cross Southwest Blood Services Region. (I have not heard back from them.)
• I encouraged my staff to choose a charity or charities that "tug at their heart strings." We will list these on our web site with our bios, along with a brief description why they're important to us. (We will focus on these non-profit organizations when we match donations for a designated event, or we market our services by making donations on behalf of e-Partners in Giving.)
NOTE: I'm still working on my charities, but here are the ones I am leaning towards:
– Finding Grace Homeless Initiative ("An emerging coalition of individuals and organizations aiming to increase awareness and raise money for homeless organizations." Interest raised by the book "Finding Grace: The Face of America's Homeless")
– Marathon Kids (Targets children most vulnerable to sedentary lives and encourages running to combat childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes.)
– One World Running ("An international program promoting an awareness of health, fitness and nutrition by providing running shoes to those in need in the United States and around the world.")
– Run for Congo Women (Giving women in the Congo "hope for life in this country torn by war." The passion of founder Lisa Shannon is contagious and made me aware and intrigued by this "nightmare" in Africa.)
I will probably pick four or five non-profits that "run the gauntlet" – one that focuses on children, one that focuses on the homeless, an environmental cause, and an international effort. Literacy is also important to me, as well as domestic abuse. (As you can tell from my list, I'm kind of drawn towards organizations that focus on running, too.)
If you have a charity that you hold close to your heart. I would love to hear about it. (Why does it tug at your heart strings?) Just like Lisa Shannon, it's the people and their passion for an organization or cause, that really differentiates one charity from another. (EXAMPLE: Tanya is heavily involved with CASA in Tarrant County, which "serves as voice for abused and neglected children when they go to court." This will definitely be one that makes "the list.")
As I continue to research these organizations, it reminds me how many people in this world need EVERYONE to be giving back.
I will probably never say this again, but I'm glad I got slapped across the face. Hopefully this blog has a similar impact on you ... SLAP!