Business of Giving

Last week our groups looked at how to organize calculations when running a nonprofit organization. I never realized how much work went into managing the finance side of any business. This activity really opened my eyes on the fact that a charity organization could, in fact, close its doors. For many years I’ve just assumed that all charities make money and continue to help their cause; it never even occurred to me that a company could lose their donors and possibly their origin.

I had much curiosity when researching the charities to potentially contribute to. For my specific interest within family services, I was very intent on finding a service that aided in the coping from abuse cases, specifically with young children. I personally get the impression that children feel as though they don’t have the power to speak up against their abusers, that they are subject to mistreatment from their elders, so when I found the organization “Speak Up for Kids of Palm Beach County” I was really excited because I felt that nonprofit business encompassed everything that I wanted my cause to contain. I hope an executive gets a chance to speak with our class because from the research that I have done so far, this is a very important cause that needs our contribution and will put it to good use.

Uncovering the Past

The Paper Bag Activity was a really great way to get to know my group-mates; it was a nice icebreaker with abundant laughs. When choosing what to include in my paper bag, I also uncovered a lot of my past that I had seemed to have forgotten. It was connecting to look through my baby-box with my parents and reminisce about the younger years. I uncovered old awards, drawings, and pictures; It was hard to pick the final three, but I felt confident that my items expressed who I was.
My first item was a tea-pod. As I was drinking my morning cups of tea after a yoga class, I had a moment of self enlightenment: why do I drink this every day? I’m usually a sweet eater so even I found it odd to drink something bitter every morning and evening. The illuminating answer finally came to me and I realized that although drinking tea is a part of my habit, it also calms me from stress. I’ve noticed that after a long day at school, I always come home to make a pot of my soothing tea. It is a great stress reliever and learning how to manage my stress, as a teenager, is a positive aspect to who I am and what my parents have taught me. In my bag, I also included my old passport. this was one of the first items that I had thought to bring because it truly conveys my story. My passport is a collection of my life and my memories that I have made. My parents have always kept our old passports so that we can always look back to the filled pages of stamps of different sizes and languages. Each one tells a story of it’s own and contributes to the memories of my life.
Although this activity gave me a lot of time to look back and reminisce on my life, it also gave me a chance to appreciate my groupmates and see all the things we have in common. It was great to see the excitement in their eyes as they were telling a funny story or memory from the past. Alec brought a shoe lace to express his love for running; he explained how he got started and added that it was a great teambuilding sport, although many people think to the contrary. He also brought a picture of his dog, which was adorable, and explained how his dog contributed to his life. Antonio brought a guitar pic; I had known that he played guitar and was quite good; however, I thought it was only a hobby; I never knew how serious music was in his life. He also brought a picture of his new niece. One could tell, by the tone of his voice, how excited he was to have her in his life. Piper brought a necklace that her boyfriend gave her, which I thought was super sweet. She also piece of chocolate and so kindly gave it to me afterwards as we both found out our joint appreciation of the food. This activity definitely brought out the similarities in our group and helped us all to realize the individual stories each has to offer.

Learning to be Grateful

Choosing just three MAD cards from the original six proved to be much harder than I had initially thought. This exercise made me realize how my interests varied greatly. The first MAD card I chose was Hunger. I picked this card because of what I have seen in my travels. From traveling to the outskirts of Buenos Aires, St. Petersburg, Beijing, and places alike, I have seen the families on the street begging for anything to help them live another day. People don’t realize that these aren’t just like the beggars they see in New York City, these families in these dilapidated towns have it much worse and it occurs in much greater numbers. While in in the countryside near Beijing, I worked at an orphanage for young children. Even the orphanages, that were supposed to be a safe and beneficial place for children to live, would run out of basic necessities like food and clean water that we take for granted. The children had no home or family and had no way of leaving this place until the legal age; even then, how would they know where to go and what to do with their lives? This experience also aided in my decision to choose Children and Youth Services as another MAD card because I believe that every child deserves a save haven.

My last MAD card was Public Health and Welfare. Before I truly had a chance to think about what this entailed, I had no idea how lucky I was to have a mother who cooks healthy food for my family every night. I had never paid attention to how expensive fresh fruits and vegetables actually were. It upsets me to realize that a lot of families, especially in Palm Beach County, don’t have access to these luxury foods. Perhaps the child’s parents work 10 – 12 hours a day and neither can cook a decent dinner for the family; they would then conclude stop by McDonalds or Burger King on the way home for the cheap convenience off of the dollar menu. They don’t even care to look at the nutritional value of eating a hamburger and french fries; because of the price, they are willing to overlook how unhealthy their meal actually is. Obviously, this comes with serious health issues, such as obesity and high cholesterol. Unfortunately these families do not have the time or the money to turn this around. ┬áThe MAD card exercise was an efficient way to help me realize what my interests were and the extent of what I have.