Tuesday, March 13, 2012


So I'm not really much of an activist. I've never been a sign-toting, pledge-signing kind of person. However, there are a few things that stick very closely to my heart, and I will always fight for. And no, these are not in order of importance.

First, the PRIVILEGE that U.S. citizens have to vote (and, to their everlasting shame, one that they squander). But that is a soap box for another day my friends. This post is reserved for something different.

Two, the neglect, abuse, and/or murder of children. No, I'm not a mother. That does not mean I don't have the instincts of one, and will do my best to protect any child I can regardless of my relation to him/her. The idea that anyone could knowingly or intentionally take advantage of, manipulate, maltreat, or otherwise harm such an innocent, malleable, helpless being deserves whatever judgments the God I believe in has to serve.

Last week was the first time I had heard of/saw anything regarding Joseph Kony, as I'm sure many of you did. My initial reaction after watching was, "Let's get this done!" I wanted to shell out the $30 and buy our Action Kit immediately. But my husband, the prevailing cooler head in our relationship, suggested we wait until it wasn't such a "tight" month. So I waited.

As I waited the rush of doing it cooled. Opposing responses appeared, rebuttals followed, etc. I observed these things and sat back, taking it in. But the fire that ignited inside me to be part of change burned on. I began researching other organizations that work to promote real change. But they all had drawbacks of some kind or another. Reasons why one "shouldn't" donate to them.

So I reflected on what's important to me. What I think "worthy" causes are, and on some of the comments people made that we need to start taking care of our own before we start taking care of the world.

This is what I came up with.

Every month I donate 10% of my earnings as a tithe to my church, which supports causes like humanitarian aid. I believe very much in what they do, and the same group who oversees the spending of that tithing is also in charge of the humanitarian arm of our church. Currently they are receiving donations that go toward the following projects:
I can willingly, happily donate to these causes, and I am confident that my money will not be lining pockets, but actually working on the intended cause.

Additionally, I was reminded of something my husband read to me. One of his favorite comic artists posted something on Twitter about not having access to books as a child. Both of us agreed that not having access to books is nothing short of tragedy. So I've been looking into charities that focus on literacy. An excellent list of charities, non-profits, and volunteer organizations who do just that (it has 125 on the list!) can be found at Playing by the Book --a site dedicated to reviewing children's books.

One that I've found, and wouldn't mind supporting, is First Book. According to it's website, "First Book has distributed more than 80 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families throughout the United States and Canada. By making new, high-quality books available on an ongoing basis, First Book is transforming the lives of children in need and the elevating the quality of education." They also receive a 4 star ranking on Charity Navigator which you can find here.

Also, I believe that individuals can be the change. I have the good fortune of knowing a woman who has started the grassroots campaign to "be the change." She encourages people to be the change wherever they are. Her name is Ashley, and it's called The Shine Project.

And last, going back to what I said about children, I feel that children are often neglected when parents get caught up in dangerous, harmful situations. Sometimes the children are not taught what is dangerous and they become those same kinds of parents. It took years for people to figure out smoking was bad for you. Some people are starting to sound advance warning about pornography in the same way, and I support them. Their non-profit organization Fight the New Drug focuses solely on educating people--especially youth--about the harmful effects of pornography. People who stand with them are fighters. I am a Fighter.

Overall, I think people should not be won over by bouts of mass-propaganda. I do think one person makes a difference, and by choosing to make a difference in the lives of others that sphere of influence expands and overlaps with other people. We can make this world a better place. We can shape the future. We just have to find our book, our shine, our fight, and go with it.

1 comment:

  1. I love this post. It has so much of your voice in it. After I donated to "Invisible Children" I wondered if my contribution would have been better given under the Humanitarian Aid line on my tithing slip. But as I continued to research the foundation, I feel good about their efforts and their platform. (and I still think my $ would have gone farther with the church.) I'm very interested in "The New Drug" and hope to learn more about it. Have you heard of Deseret Book's literacy charity? It's called Chapters of Hope. It likely has very good oversight. I love you so much!