The Giver

This week, I interviewed my brother about his volunteering experiences. My brother volunteers frequently, from Give Kids the World to hospitals to animal shelter to hospice care facilities, he does it all! So it came as no surprise to me that my brother had a deep passion for volunteering. My brother explained to me that to him, true volunteering can only be achieved if you put your heart into what you are doing. This holds true for most individuals. To dedicate large amounts of your time to others is no easy task. You must be prepared to allow your heart to leap into service with joy and determination. The conversation I had with my brother surprised me because he made me realize that if I volunteer at a place frequently, then my heart must have an attachment there. If my heart has an attachment there, then is it not logical to give my donation to this place as well? It was a truly enlightening conversation, one that I will try to have more often.

-Jon Mwakyanjala

The Giver

I find that it is much easier than I thought to evaluate investment companies based on their Form 990s. Everything is laid out for me in such a simple matter. With all the information already in front of me, I find it very easy to see how these companies are spending their money and just how efficiently they are using their money. I find that evaluating form 990s online is the most efficient method for me to evaluate these organizations.

-Jon Mwakyanjala

The Giver

Unfortunately, I found that the medical research organizations in Orlando, FL do not really care for the donations of a high school student. So, instead, I decided to try to help a new organization, someone close who actually seems in need. I researched charities that dealt with my another important concern of mine: Youth Services. I found House of Hope Orlando, a non-denominational Christian program that helps keep teenagers of the streets and helps them lead productive and responsible lives.

I was truly impressed with their goals, but I was even more impressed by their form 990. House of Hope Orlando falls under the National House of Hope and that organization is truly not about the profit but rather it focuses on the program. It is crucial that I look at their form 990 because I do not want to donate my time and money to an organization that is too frugal in terms of helping fund the program or to loose in its dollars. I need to see a good mix of spending on its program, not spending too much towards salaries, and positive fundraising that actually raises funds.

I decided to stick through and try to help this organization any way I can. I am excited to see what comes from this endeavor.

-Jonathan Mwakyanjala

The Giver

For any followers of this blog, I just want to specify that the quote I wrote in my last blog is my original work. I did not steal it! I am not that type of blogger.

-Jon Mwakyanjala

The Giver

“The real world is cruel, without sunshine and smiles. Why should charities be any different?”

That is the thought that has been ringing through my head like a church bells: Why should charities be different? Should they be different simply because they are charities? No, they are not just charities, they are also human, and humans are vicious creatures. Why should they be different? Should they be different because we are offering them money? No, the might scoff at me for wasting their time. I truly want to help, but is my money just dust to them? Do they require sums of millions? If they are not different, if they are just normal humans, if they do only require large sums of money, than I know that this is not the charity I wish to donate to. The charity I wish to donate to MUST be different, they CANNOT be normal humans, and they MUST accept and be grateful for whatever sum of money or help that comes their way. Only then can I feel that this is the charity that needs my donation.

-Jon Mwakyanjala

The Giver

Something that became painfully apparent to me this week is how difficult a simple task can become. Simple tasks such as choosing a Mission Statement. We, Preston, Jackson, and I, all shared a common interest: Medical research. We all cared deeply for the advancement of research and we all knew that without research many of the common day oddities we enjoy today would not exist. So we were committed to doing what ever we can do to help!

It was easy to say that we wanted to help out medical research but it was pretty difficult to put our goal into a mission statement. We sat and thought..and thought..and thought…then hit a brick wall. We were genuinely stuck! Then we decided to through out what ever ideas we had and that began to stir our thinking pot. We started formulating some ideas, started putting those ideas to words, then organized those words until, by some divine intervention, we had ourselves a mission statement! It was NOT easy, it was tedious, but it was enjoyable. I am very excited to continue this project, though I know it will not be as easy as I anticipated, a lesson learned from this task.

Our Mission:
Accelerating medical research to the discovery of innovative preventionary  medicine.

-Jon Mwakyanjala

The Giver

A man would be surprised how much one learns about himself and others from a simple paper bag. The items we shared with one another may have been light in physical weight, but they were immense in their emotional value. Preston put a pen in his bag, a pen that I was all to familiar with. It shocked me, though, to hear that this pen actually belonged to his grandmother!¬†It was a pen passed down through generations, a pen that has endured great heights and led to the success of many. I was extremely surprised that this pen carried so much weight. It was so small, so hallow, yet it allowed me to peer deep into Preston’s past.

Not only were the objects that Preston brought a pleasant surprise, but I was also astounded to see just how much the items I brought meant to me. The wristband I brought was made in Tanzania, the country where my family is from, and it is something I wear almost everyday. But when I began to talk about what the colors on the wristband represent, I felt something deep inside. A jovial feeling of pride towards my country of origin. I was astonished!

A brown paper bag. A featherweight. Who could has imagined the weight of such simple objects?

-Jon Mwakyanjala