I received a certificate from Seedling Mentoring last week, celebrating 7 years of mentoring children who deal with parental incarceration. I have worked with Seedling since its inception (Board Member, etc.) and for the last few years, I have been active on its Advisory Council and doing weekly mentoring in Austin’s public schools.
I am paired with my second mentee now, and we have been together for Kindergarten, First, and Second Grade and we have become good friends. I don’t take that lightly. Children of trauma let you into their lives in various ways and layers of depth and it took me a year to earn a hug from this little one.
If you are wise, you are self-quarantining, sheltering at home, social distancing…let’s face it, Covid-19 has given us a whole new pandemic related vocabulary. It boils down to limiting your contact with other people and for those of us who can afford to do it, it seems a rational way to help reduce the risk for those who cannot.
Your medical professionals, pharmacists, grocery store clerks, are just a few who are on the front lines and behind them is an army of people cleaning up and supporting their efforts. Our younger daughter is a nurse and she will work shifts in the pediatric ICU. Our older daughter is a lawyer and a prosecutor and there are some legal proceedings that just can’t happen virtually by law. She will go in and do her job.
Will they take every precaution? Of course, but this is a very sneaky bug that stays on surfaces and is spread by the most casual of contact. It would be easy to give in to fear and paranoia, but we can’t afford to do that either.
My husband is working remotely and thankful to be in an industry that lends itself to that. I am a volunteer, and although there are many things I can do remotely, mentoring a 2nd-grade girl is not one of them. That level of mentoring requires the face to face, the hand to hand, and the hug to hug. We will have to go without and it is not looking good that I will be able to do the closure at the end of this school year that I normally would do. I am sad and my prayer is that she does not perceive this as a permanent goodbye or another abandonment in a young life that has seen too many already. I trust Seedling Mentoring to come up with little ways we can stay in touch and say goodbye, but I am also cognizant that it won’t be the same. Continue reading →
I have written about “finding your passion” in philanthropy over the years and thought it was an effective way to help people identify the cause that resonated with them. “Begin With the End in Mind,” Dr. Stephen Covey said and he was right. But there is more than one way to approach that question of passion for change and this week I learned a new one that I will share with you!
I was at a YWA Connect Kickoff event for the Young Women’s Alliance this week and my friend and fellow YWA Connect Mentor Gayle Reaume was the keynote speaker. Gayle is the founder of Moolah U and her passion is sharing financial information with young people. She has been very successful in her business and always hands credit back to her personal mentors as she brings that success forward into the lives of the people she mentors.
She said, “I don’t ask people what their passion or interest in community service is…I ask them what situation or condition they can’t bear to live with in the world.”
I thought that was a great way to get people thinking about more than what they love. It makes them think about what they dislike and want to change. It was a call to action that I will be incorporating into the way I talk with potential volunteers, donors, and mentors.
What can’t I bear to live with in the world?
Ignorance and inequality were what came to mind first and young people are the most obvious target to me. Education, Diversity, Inclusion…all those words are just words until someone undertakes actions to make them a reality for the generations who are coming up fast.
I had the privilege of speaking to a group of young professional women and their mentors recently. I have been mentoring with the Young Women’s Alliance YWA Connect Program for a few years now, and I addressed mentoring through emotions and pointed out some concepts from Social and Emotional Learning (Taught in our local Austin ISD classrooms!) that can be used when dealing with strong emotions in the workplace.
In addition to these “tips from the playground,” I shared some wisdom that was both personal and hard-won.
I asked the room full of women if they considered themselves to be creative. The nods and smiles indicated to me that most of them did.
I said, “Creative people need an outlet in their lives. Whether it is creating, performing, or appreciating, the creative person who does not allow time and energy to practice, produce and perform their talents will see that need for expression come out through their relationships with other people. It may be constructive, but more often, when the drama in your soul is not being let out in positive ways, it manifests itself in negative ways.”
I will never know how many of my audience took this to heart and whether it will be on their minds until they see how it might affect them.
Have you ever had a craving to bring some drama into your life? Maybe you have picked a fight…maybe you have shunned someone as part of a group or as an individual…maybe you have found yourself nagging and nitpicking your closest friend or your partner…the list is endless when it comes to creating drama. What can you do about this urge that may have grown slowly over time and seems so irresistible or inevitable? Continue reading →
For me, it is the budgeting of a percentage of my family’s financial resources, donated yearly to nonprofits that are pursuing missions we agree are important and are being done well. My personal time and volunteer efforts may come along with this financial support (statistically, many people do give more to nonprofits where they volunteer), but it is not guaranteed. My husband jokes that I work more hours than he does in his full-time job, but mine are much more variable!
You have limited resources and only you can decide what is the best way to use them!
I started thinking of myself as a philanthropist through my work with Impact Austin. This is a collective giving group that gathers 500 or more women together who donate $1250 ($1000 to grants and $250 to overhead) and cumulatively give out half a million dollars or so a year in high-impact, targeted grants to nonprofits in the Central Texas area. Sounds kind of magical, doesn’t it? Few of us are wealthy, some are budgeting each month to make their yearly commitment, but most of us are in the middle. We can write that check but it definitely takes away from other charitable things we could do.