Yep, they did it again! Check out Start Some Good‘s second part of their two-part blog series for WGD. Get ready to be inspired.
In preparation for World Give Day on May 4, 2012, we asked ten inspiring entrepreneurs who have run or are currently running campaigns on StartSomeGood to respond to the following statement:
Small gift, big impact: tell us about a time when you saw a small act of giving create lots of unexpected joy.
The response was overwhelmingly enthusiastic and we’re so glad to be able to share these truly amazing stories with all of you. Last week, we shared the experiences of Ehon, Tom, Jack, Gina, and Christina. This time around, we’re excited to share a few more inspiring stories of giving from Daniel, Yanti, Micah, Aimi, and Leo. Read, enjoy, and get ready to be inspired.
As a teacher, I see small gifts make a big impact all the time. That’s what we live for, the small moments that inspire change in a student’s mind, heart, or soul. In my five years teaching I have seen many of these, but there is one time of year that always sticks out: our Annual Adopt-A-Kid Christmas party.
The High School I teach at is a Title I school with a lot of low-income students. I have had homeless students, students in gangs, students with foster parents, and many other “at-risk” kids. Every year, just before our Winter Break, we have an Adopt-A-Kid party. On this day, each class adopts a needy kindergarten student and gets a wish list. All the students in the class pitch in a little money or food and we purchase gifts and throw a Christmas party for the student.
On the day of the party, “Santa” and his “helpers” (other students dressed up in costume) come by and get their picture taken with the little kid, who is getting more and more excited. Then it’s time for presents. All the high schoolers gather around and assist in opening, inching their present closer and saying, “Open this one!” Then, in the midst of little kids riding bikes through the halls and having story books read to them while finishing off a piece of cake, the announcement is made that it is time for the kids to return to the elementary school. We all help them pack up their gifts and say our goodbyes and Merry Christmases. The little guys and girls leave with great big smiles on their faces, almost as big as the ones on the big kids’ faces who got to experience the joy of giving.
When I was in Indonesia in 2008, I was visiting with my family in North Sulawesi. My family lives in a compound in a small town called Tomohon. The compound is made up of three houses all where my father and his siblings grew up also. My cousin was one amongst 15 cousins living there, all wanting and trying to make their lives different, however often having to compromise their dreams to earn money and make a living for the family. My cousin Harke had dreams to play music, play in a rock n roll band, but could never afford to buy a guitar. That year I gave Harke enough money to buy an electric guitar and encouraged him to play. Five years later Harke now lives in Jakarta and plays in a touring rock n roll band. Everyday I see his shows or see that he is recording, it makes me smile and realize how one act of giving can create such a life of joy and help fulfill his dreams.
I spent a month in Gulu, Uganda summer of 2009. It was an experience that I could never forget if I tried. One experience that sits in my mind like it took place yesterday, happened early on the morning after our first night in the country. A few friends and I came out of our hotel to explore the town for a few hours that morning when we stumbled on three young children sitting outside of their shack of a house. We had brought a frisbee with us for some reason, so we took it out and motioned to them to see if they wanted to play. At first they looked confused about the weird round object that I held in my hand. Then we started playing frisbee with each other to show them what it was all about. Slowly their faces started to light up. We included them and started what turned into a half hour session of throwing, or in the majority of cases, dropping the frisbee. For a half hour I watched three small children who had nothing, yet their faces showed that they had everything. The joy that radiated from their smiles accompanied by the shrieks of laughter that came from their mouths was such hopeful thing. A small round object and thirty minutes of our time was all it took. So simple, so profound.
One of my favorite memories of when I experienced a small act of sharing create an abundance of joy and laughter was when five of my friends and I visited a small school in rural Vietnam (near the border of China). We were on our way to visit another province and in getting lost we found ourselves at a small school with adorable vietnamese children curiously gazing at us westerners and we had to stop to say hello. We wanted to snap some photos of the charismatic children and as we pulled out our cameras they all stood back in awe. As we began to snap some photos of them, we’d turn the camera around to replay the images and each time they bursted in laughter and excitement. We began gathering them closer and briefly showed them how to use the camera to take photos of each other and each time they got to take a photo and see the result, they were overjoyed and had a blast capturing photos of one another. Their laughter and pure excitement was completely unexpected but truly humbling and reminds us how having excitement for the simple things and memories in life is key to creating lots of unexpected joy.
Twenty-five bucks may not seem like a big deal, but for Carnisha, a first-year Grow Dat Youth Farm Crew Member, it amounted to one afternoon’s stipend earnings at her first real job. She beamed with enthusiasm when she opened her first pay check, funded in part from multiple $25 donations received through our Grow the Green campaign on StartSomeGood. Carnisha and twenty of her Grow Dat peers are honing their leadership potential through the meaningful work of growing food this spring and summer thanks to small gifts with big payoffs.