Interview with Family Member (Blog 7)

For my interview, I chose to interview my mother, Anne Boodheshwar. It was really fun and enlightening, but I have to admit I knew most of her answers already (we’re extremely close). Here’s what she said:

 

1. Where did you grow up, and how were things then than they are today?
I grew up in Evansville, Indiana, which is basically about as Midwestern as you can get. Unfortunately, things there are still pretty much exactly the same. Most of my high school classmates graduated, went to IU or a community college nearby and then moved back to Evansville.

2. What was an experience you had as a young person that changed your life? What lessons did you learn from that experience?
Hmm…well, one of the biggest life changing things I experienced was when I was 18, a senior, and about to go to college. It was late in the year, I’d already accepted my college, and my dad lost his job. My parents had to use all of my college funds to pay for our living expenses so I went from having a lot of money and security going to college and then suddenly I had nothing. It all worked itself out – eventually – we got student loans and paid them off later, but at the time it was terrifying. I guess I learned that things in life do work out for the better, eventually. 

3. How were money matters handled in your family growing up?
Very carefully. We weren’t poor, but we weren’t rich either, so we had to be very stingy with our money. A lot of times my Aunt Joyce actually made my dresses – not that this was a downgrade. She had learned from my grandmother, and her mother, how to make dresses that looked just as good if not better than the dresses in the department store. We only had one vacation spot, the lake with family year after year, but looking back I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

4. What are some lessons about money that a young person should know?
Be careful with it. Don’t splurge your money, don’t waste it on stupid things. Treat yourself, sometimes, but make sure you have more than enough to pay the bills left over. Remember that you’re going to have to do your taxes. Learn how to do your taxes!

5. What are some organizations or causes you have supported or that you now support with your charitable giving and/or community service?
One of the main things my husband I support is our college, Bowling Green State University. We give a lot of money to them. When we lived in Ohio I worked in the art program at the Boys and Girls Club in our town, and I’ve seen the amazing work they can do for children, so I donate to them as well. My whole life I’ve volunteered at children’s art programs.

6. What are some ways that charitable giving and community service have made your life better?
Giving feels good, especially for me when art is involved. Art changed my life, and I love seeing how it change the lives of others.

7. What are some reasons you think it’s important that young people today get involved in charitable giving and community service?
People need help, animals need help, our world needs help. If you have the tools to help you should use them.

8. If you could fix one serious problem in the world today, what would that be? Explain why that area is a concern is so important to you.
Health is really important to me. Both my side of the family and my husband’s have genetic health issues, and if I could fix anything, I would improve our medical research. Cancer and other terminal illnesses kill too many people a year. 

9. Tell me about a time when it felt like you made a meaningful difference in someone’s life, or in your community, or in our country.
When I was working at the Boys and Girls Club, definitely. I got to work with a lot of kids who didn’t have a parent to go home to after school and get them really involved in the arts. We did photography, painting, drawing, sculpting, even designed art on the computers. The kids loved it and it was amazing to see the smiles on their faces loving the things I taught them.

10. In your opinion, what are some secrets to a joyful, fulfilling life?
Love, in all forms. With your family, your friends and with your community. Helping people is loving people and loving the world, and love makes you happy, there’s no doubt about that.

PURPOSE, VISION AND MISSION STATEMENT

In our group, Healing HeARTs, our purpose is to serve our community by making a difference in the lives of children receiving long-term medical care. This is the part that took us the longest as a group, because it was difficult for us to put our entire mission and all of our ideas into one sentence, but eventually with the help of Ms. Allegra we were able to create a solid, short, and explanatory sentence to describe our group and what we want to do.

Our vision is a world where families with children receiving long-term medical care have all the resources necessary. This is our vision because in the opinion of our group, parents or guardians should not have to go bankrupt, or even be hurting for money, because their child is receiving long-term medical care. The most stressful part about a situation such as that should be only about the fact that their child is in that situation, not if they will be able to pay for it and eat that week. Medical care should be available affordably to everyone who needs it.

Our mission statement has not yet been specified, but we will be formulating a more clear statement over the next week for what our mission is. However, it will be something along the lines of “We want to serve the children receiving long-term medical care, and make their lives easier.” Like I said in the previous paragraph, money should not be the stressful part about being a recipient, or the parent of a recipient, of long-term medical care. The children and their parents should be focused completely on getting better/ living happily more than anything else. Whether or not they’ll be able to afford being healthy should never be an issue.

Our preliminary organizations that we have identified are the Quantum House, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, Miami Children’s, Palm Beach Children’s Hospital at St. Mary’s, and the Children Servies of Palm Beach County. When we call these different organizations, we will be attempting to contact board members and/or executive directors who will help us (or not help us) get involved with the charity aspect of their businesses. While calling we will also be attempting to encourage a board member to come and present during one of our classes. (If we talk to someone who is interested in doing this, we would forward them to Ms. Allegra or Ms. Lori). However, the majority of the conversation will be led by us, so in order to come across as professional, we have some steps to follow.

1. We should follow or loosely follow the Contacting Organizations scripts

2. We should be confident, friendly, happy, interested, and attentive

3. We should speak clearly and slowly, repeating ourselves if we are sent to voicemail

4. We must inform them clearly of what our mission is. Explain HOW and WHY we are doing what we’re doing

Most importantly though, we need to be persistent and passionate. I know now that there will be some people that say no, but if we push through and persevere  we’ll be able to make a real difference in the area that we are passionate in and in the lives that we want to change.

Brown Paper Bags and Fundraising: Healing HeARTs

The Brown Paper Bag Activity is something I have to admit I was little judgmental about when it was assigned. In my head I was thinking, I’ve known everyone in this room for at least two or three years – what more can I actually learn about them? But I was actually proven wrong. My group mates, Jenna, Sarah and Sophia, actually had many things to share that I didn’t know about them before this activity. One of the most important things that we found out is that we all are deeply passionate about the arts, whether it was singing, theater, or visual arts.

That discovery led us to decide the focus of what our charity would be – art therapy for children in hospitals. The name of our organization will be “Healing HeARTs” Our goal is to spend “art hours” with children with mental disorders, physical disorders, and terminal illnesses at children’s hospitals in which we would interact with them via the arts; i.e. writing and acting out a small skit or play, painting, drawing, making bracelets, having karaoke parties, etc. Having a mother who is an art therapy major, I strongly believe that art in all forms has the power to change at the least someone’s mood, and at a larger level someone’s perspective on life. Creating beautiful things creates its own sense of joy and accomplishment, which is something we as a group believe could greatly help children who spend everyday in a less than happy atmosphere.

But of course, this will cost money, so we have to do some fundraising as well. Two of our smaller ideas were to hold a garage sale or car wash, and to let people know that we are raising money to help children in need, which will hopefully bring in more profits than those two events would bring in without a great cause behind it. Our main idea, however, is to do an art related fundraising event. Because all of us have different artistic talents, we plan to hone those to raise money for our charity. For example, Jenna and I are writers, so we plan to write small original one-of-a-kind picture books that we can sell copies of. Sophia is an amazing knitter, so she is going to knit stuffed animals and other things to sell. Sarah is going to make bracelets to sell too. As we become involved in a hospital, we can even sell some of the bracelets and other arts and crafts that the children make during our art hours. We will have a sign explaining why we are raising money to tug the heartstrings of our customers. As of yet, we don’t have a set date, but it’ll probably be by the end of March at the very latest.

MAD Cards

After working with the MAD cards in class, I learned a lot about what I am deeply passionate about.

One thing that I discovered I had a passion about was Children and Youth Services. In the past I have volunteered at church in the child care areas, and working with the younger children – entertaining and playing with them – was something that I enjoyed a lot.

Another one of the things I found I was passionate about was Animal Care. As an animal owner and lover, the wellbeing of animals is extremely important to me. I have volunteered at Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League and my local veterinarian in the past, and the experiences from those volunteer sessions have changed me as a person. For example, when I was working at the vet, I worked back in the kennel with the animals that were left there while there owners were away on vacation. I assisted in feeding, grooming and walking all the dogs. Once, there was a dog whose owners never came back. He had been dropped off for a surgery, but no one ever came back to pick him up or pay for the surgery, and he had to be sent to the pound. That experience strengthened my passion for making sure all animals have the proper care and love.

However, the thing I found that I was the most passionate about was Hospitals & Medical Care and People with Mental/Physical Disorders. This is something that I feel strongly about because I believe that everyone should have the proper medical care that they need to live. For the portion about People with Mental/Physical Disorders, I want to visit children suffering from different mental and physical disorders (terminal and non terminal) because any disease is difficult to go through, but it’s a little bit easier if you’re not going at it alone. I’m hoping to work with younger and older children, and make their days a little better when they feel like there’s nothing good that could happen.

What I hope to gain from the Main Street Philanthropy project should be translated to what I hope to give. Overall, I just want to try to make the issues I’ve addressed better, and if I get something out of it, that’s awesome, but that’s not what I’m aiming to do.