Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Why do you care?

It’s sometimes as moving to hear why a donor or volunteer cares about our mission as it is to hear about the lives of the families who have become homeless.

A first time visitor asked both the Associate Executive Director and me why we had become involved. He then shared a group exercise in a seminar he attended years ago that awakened an awareness in him. The exercise (some call it the diversity shuffle) describes a number of experiences you may or may not have had growing up. If you had the experience, you take a step forward. If you didn’t, you step back.

He looked around the room at a group of people he worked with every day and knew well. He was stunned to see that he ended up way out front.

Some of his co-workers never went to a library as a child. They didn’t have a set of encyclopedias (I’m old enough to remember an old set of Funk & Wagnalls we had in our house). In his family, everyone went to college. Even his grandparents graduated from college in 1917.

The experience opened his eyes to the advantages he had that others didn’t. More than that, he understood what others had never learned. He’s given it a lot of thought over the years and the understanding has grown into desire to offer a hand up to people who have had less.

Another donor told me that he was stunned when his first job paid him more than his single working mother made in her whole life. And, she is a smart, hard working woman.

Not everyone is smart, or educated. Not every kid was read to as a child. And, it shapes our lives.

We’re very grateful for every one of you who sees that and cares.