Monday, December 20, 2010
There are thousands of non-profit organizations in this big, silly, beautiful world.
This means that there are thousands of people vying for human power for their particular cause.
A certain social issue, such as AIDS awareness and action, could be the catalyst to your passion with non-profit work. Maybe you were affected personally by knowing someone with AIDS, you might be battling the disease yourself, or maybe you read a touching account of a person struggling with HIV; whatever the reason may be, you are willing to go head-on into the issue and do your part in solving it.
Before you go all crazy with tweeting, volunteering, and telling all of your friends about the social problem...STOP.
What is the root of this problem?
To continue with the AIDS example, what could we say is the root of this issue?
My mind immediately zooms to poverty.
Well then, okay. We're making progress, but what's the root cause(s) of poverty?
Hmmm. We could say that it is lack of resources (education, land, support), corruption, hatred, the list could fall into oblivion and keep going.
So, when we get down the root cause of any social issue, the answer is usually pretty simple.
It's people. It's humans. It's US.
We're the cause & we're the solution.
So, how do we address THAT problem?
Monday, December 13, 2010
It's the holiday season, and you are being bombarded by all sorts of people to give, give, and give some more.
"These children need toys!" They say, "They need shoes! Feed the homeless!"
The list goes on and on.
As a responsible citizen, you might feel like it is your civic duty to buy a child a Christmas present, but stop and think about how that present is going to change the child's life.
Is it going to put a recurring amount of food on their table?
Is it going to consistently motivate their parents to find more stable, higher-paying jobs?
Is it going to teach the child about education?
More than likely, your answer will be no.
It isn't that we should stop giving charitably; it's just that we should know the effects of doing so. It's almost like taking drugs because the effects on the receivers are short-term.
Upward mobility in America is about self-sufficiency.
By always giving and never educating, how are these recipients going to rise above their current issues and take control of their lives?
We are crippling them.
How can we change the system of charitable giving?
We can attach lessons with giveaways. We can bring speakers to events where charitable donations are being given. We can require courses for families that need charitable donations.
The focus is education, and it is often forgotten in society.
Trust in people. Teach them how to fend for themselves, and they will.
The problem with charity is that it's easy. Giving a $10 present from Target to a child in need gives people warm fuzzies inside, and that's it.
Creating long-lasting effects is difficult, and the people in society that can make change say they don't have the time.
Are we too lazy and too self-absorbed to commit to change like this?
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Yes, those fingers are pointing at lettuce.
I was at Cafe Rio the other day, and I consciously avoided sitting at a table because there was a small piece of lettuce there. I sat near the table and watched as several other people avoided it too. I noticed how not one person, myself included, was willing to just clean it off and sit down.
Then, I started to think about all of the things in this world that humans avoid which made me think about how humans treat other humans.
Take bullying for example. When I was in elementary school, I remember seeing a couple of children being teased by classmates. I remember being so grateful that I wasn't the one getting picked on.
Why didn't I do anything about it? Sure, I was young, but I had an obligation to help those kids, and I stood on the playground, indifferently.
This sort of apathy has been going on forever, in small and large scales.
As a college student and a budding social entrepreneur, I learn about all sorts of social problems every day. I hear about awareness projects. I read about and see all of the suffering. I realize that this world is in a big, stupid mess.
I also know that other people know this too, but a large majority aren't doing anything about it. They're walking to the table with the lettuce on it, acknowledging it, and walking away to find a different table.
They feel like it is not their job to fix the problem in front of them. They tell themselves that it is the employee's problem.
What would make them take a napkin, clean it off of the table, and sit down?
As a society, we need to be proactive.
What motivates you to be a proactive citizen?
Friday, December 3, 2010
If your car requires pricey repairs around the holidays, do you have sufficient cash to cover it?
Is your only option to turn to the credit card with the exorbitant interest rate?
Give me a nod if money stresses you out.
Every day, emergencies occur.
Tuition rises, cars collide, pipes break, technology fails, relatives die, and life expects you to pay up.
Humans are in constant need of items that continue to keep their lives moving in a desired direction, but they don’t always have the necessary funds to cover their expenditures.
According to America Saves, “From 2008 to 2010, Americans with a savings plan with specific goals fell from 62% to 55%…and those who save for retirement at work fell from 55% to 49%.”
That means that nearly HALF of Americans are not saving their money for the future. That is approximately 155, 430, 210 people who will be in debt upon retirement.
These are embarrassing statistics.
As a college student and a hostess at a small restaurant, I do not make much money. Regardless, the money that I do earn, I save.
One effective way of saving money for me is using the envelope system. It’s simple, efficient, and is a constant reminder of your financial goals.
The first thing I do is make a list of my financial goals, the amounts needed, the deadlines, and how much I’m going to put away per paycheck/month. Some examples are: travel, groceries, car repairs/maintenance, clothes, entertainment, and gifts.
So, it would look like this:
These are categories that are beneficial when using a cash method.
Savings for investments, school, and IRA should be managed through a bank account.
If you use this system for a couple of months, and you are fortunate enough to see your savings increase in your selected categories, you will receive a feeling of security and wealth.
You will be prepared for the annoying, little emergencies that life so graciously hands to you.
Most importantly, stress will get a big kick right out of the door.