Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Day 24: Something I wish I could change

We all have things about ourselves that we want to change.  At least I'm pretty sure that we do.  I would love to be thinner, have more definition between my chin and neck, and have permanently smooth legs.  But we don't always get what we want, do we?  I think that wanting something else, wanting change of some sort, is just a part of being human.

I've spent a lot of time thinking about change over the years.  My childhood was not the best.  Not the worst, by a long shot, since I didn't grow up as a child soldier or sold into prostitution and I didn't wind up in jail for stealing food to feed my family, but it was certainly no walk in the park.  I wouldn't wish my childhood on anyone, but I also wouldn't change the fact that I went through some pretty icky things, since those experiences made it so that I feel I can handle pretty much anything life throws my way.

So changing my appearance is out.  Changing my past is out, too.  What is left?  Aha! What about a more serious post for this part of the Thirty Day Challenge?  There are things in the world that I wish I could change.  There are wars, genocides, human trafficking, starvation...so many things I could list that it could be overwhelming.  I do believe that it's important to help change these things.  Some people are born to travel the world and never settle down, born to live like Mother Teresa.  I admire that.  But those people need money and encouragement as support for their missions, and so there are people born like me -- we find a way to send consistent support to the causes that we care about.  I'm not saying that money is a replacement for volunteer work or anything like that, just that both are necessary.  And so here are a few of the organizations that we support.  They do great work.  And I hope that maybe I can encourage others to support them, or similar organizations, as well.

Mercy Corps -- This organization responds to disasters (and many other situations) worldwide.  They make good use of their funds and I just love them.

Southern Poverty Law Center -- As a former social studies teacher, the issue of social justice is very important to me.  SPLC tracks hate groups (among its many responsibilities) and is very informative. In addition, they publish great teaching materials for K-12 education and give it to teachers for free!!  I have a number of videos (on VHS -- now they're offered on DVDs) that were so helpful when I wanted to highlight a particular point.  Their Teaching Tolerance website is amazing.  Seriously.  If you're in education (whether a public/private school teacher or home schooler), check them out.
 Food Banks: When I grew up, I had a lot of "food insecurity."  I didn't know it at the time.  The phrase is something I've heard within the past few years.  It means that we were not starving, but many times we didn't know if or when there would be a next meal and sometimes meals were skipped because there just wasn't any food.  I have a little bit of an obsession with food now, which is revealed by my desire to make sure that everyone has enough to eat all the time.  As an adult, the first home that Honey and I bought was in a county that had a lot of poverty and food issues.  That's when we started supporting Marion-Polk Food ShareWe don't live there any more, but it's important to me to support them, to grow food and give it away, and eventually to make my garden productive enough that I can go to the local food bank and donate fresh produce every week.  I hate thinking that people might go hungry.

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