“80% of success is showing up” –Woody Allen
Before I started my first year of college I went to a youth conference in San Diego. This conference was held by Invisible Children, an organization that is very dear to my heart. I frequently revisit my notes, photos, and memories of that weekend. I remember sitting in a crowded auditorium with roughly 750 other young activists while we were told that the most important part of helping others and making a difference is showing up.
The world is filled with war, slavery, violence, poverty, and abuse. But it is also filled with remarkable people who go out of their way to help others overcome the negativity that they are faced with. We often complain about things that are wrong in the world, but we rarely stop to think “did I do everything in my power to make a difference?”
In what ways are you taking action in your life to make the world a better place? I have heard too many people use excuse after excuse explaining why they don’t get involved; “I’m just one person”, “I don’t have the money to donate”, “I haven’t found a cause that speaks to me”, “I don’t have the time.” NONE of these answers are valid, not a single one. One person CAN make a difference, donations are NOT the only way to help, if you haven’t found a cause that speaks to you then LOOK HARDER, and you DO have the time-you just have to use it wisely.
I am a 21 year old, full time student who works, makes little money, and is overwhelmed with school and the future, yet I still find time to volunteer and make a difference. It’s not that difficult to get involved and there are thousands of worthy causes to support.
Volunteering and giving back to others has been a priority in my life from a very young age. I was raised in a way that taught us how important it is to help others. My mom has always set a wonderful example for us in the ways that she volunteers with in our own community.
Whether you take action locally, or globally, know that you are impacting hundreds of other people. Encourage others to do the same and think of the difference that would make in the world. When your kids grow older and they ask you, “Where were you when child slavery was growing, children were forced to be soldiers, people were discriminated based on sexuality, or nature was being destroyed”, I hope you can look at them and honestly say, “I SHOWED UP; I was there, I took action, and I made a difference.” It is never too early, or too late, to begin teaching these values to others. I am challenging all of you to SHOW UP, go make a difference and BE INVOLVED. I have, and it has made a huge difference in my life.
Below are some wonderful organizations that I encourage you to look into.
- Human Rights Campaign- LGBT community rights
- International Justice Mission- provide justice for the poor; rescue & protect
- Invisible Children- address LRA conflict through media, mobilization, protection & recovery
- ISF (Ian Somerhalder Foundation)- positively impact the planet & its creatures
- Kind Campaign- end bullying through kindness
- Pencils for Promise- quality education for all
- Resolve- tracking and ending LRA violence
- Saving Innocence- ending commercial sex exploitation
- Together We Rise- changing foster care
- WWF (World Wildlife Fund)- conserve nature & reduce threats