I am a busy person who is very active in the community. Aside from work, I volunteer at many worthy places which include the Hospitality Center, Racine Literacy Council, Sexual Assault Services, Eco-Justice Center, and of course, I have my own child advocacy organization called Youth Voice Initiative.
I do these things because for one, I believe in the fact that one person can make an impact, as well as the fact that without personal responsibility, your rights mean nothing. These topics and organizations are near and dear to me for various reasons, partially because of who I am as a person.
The Hospitality Center serves the needy, where people come to get hot meals, social contact, a safe place to meet & hang out, clothing, and so much more. You don’t need to be poor or homeless to be welcome here, there is literally a place for everyone who wants a place to go, something to do, and people to see. It is also my belief that hungry people should be fed, and just because you’re poor doesn’t mean you have to be socially disconnected.
The Racine Literacy Council offers tutoring to those who want to improve their skills in reading, writing and basic math to better their own situations, whether the person is an immigrant looking to be able to make their own appointments & discuss various things, or the person looking to simply get their HSED to get a better type job. I believe in education, and without it, things can be difficult.
Sexual Assault Services is something that is close to me, where I am able to be the person I needed, once upon a time… While we’ve come a long way, there is still a long way to go. Advocates sign up for 24 hour shifts, and we answer the phone in case a survivor calls just to talk, or if the hospital calls to have someone there when a recent survivor is in need of a medical exam and health related help.
The Eco-Justice Center is a fun place to be, and they offer so many good things. During the summer, they grow organic produce to sell at the markets. They also have on the premise alpacas, goats, chickens & other fowl, bees, and their resident cats. The chicken eggs and honey are also sold, as well as alpaca wool to make things such as hats and scarves with. The animals are treated very well, and they get to be what they are. I help out with animal chores, which is actually quite soothing on the mind. It also ties into my personal premise of people should eat food that is nutritious and delicious, along with being easy on the environment.
This brings me to my own cause, Youth Voice Initiative (YVI), a registered 501c4, which I created back in 2008. I had done this, because when it comes to actually DOING something, there are a lot of awareness & charitable campaigns about/for child abuse, but very little when it comes to pestering our legislators about protecting our children. When I was researching throughout 2007, I found several wildlife, animal, environmental, other human rights activist groups, yet, not much addressing children in this country who are being abused in their own homes, neglected, etc. We have seen many cases where the outcome is harsh. We see cases like Casey Anthony, Susan Smith, the Turpin family, among some. Their stories were sensationalized not just locally, but nationally also. Why weren’t there checks and balances to begin with? Who knows, yet as a society, we insist on jumping to knee-jerk reactions when dealing with this.
Mind you, I don’t mind YVI being a one woman show. I will show up in Madison. I will write my legislators. If I can’t make it all the way to D.C. I’ll request an appointment at a local office. I will talk on the phone if need be. I have gotten some headway doing these things. I will escort people to court to protect children. Write letters to the judge. Write the governor. Whatever it takes. I win some, lose some. Yet, even after these types of things, no one wants to be on board with helping with much, and whatever little bit of help I can get is appreciated, but, more can be done, but, as an individual, I can’t do it all. When people try to talk about these issues, I get asked to post about them, yet, even someone sharing a news article to the Facebook page is helpful. Donating ink or printer paper is helpful. Helping to hire someone who can formulate an education curriculum to educate various parts of the public would be great. My forte is talking to those in charge, in hopes that they will take some of what I present and do something about it. I will work their campaigns, give them a plug, sincerely thank them… So, often, it’s irritating when I hear so many people complain about how terrible it was for this or that incident to have happened… What, you don’t have 1 hour a month to come to a meeting? You don’t have an additional 2 hours to help do research? How about 2 minutes to find an article to share? How about 5 minutes to take part in a discussion forum? Yes, I’m daring people to actually DO something.
For those who are already doing so much in the community dedicating time for cause near & dear to you, I sincerely thank you and appreciate you. For those who seem to do more talking and no action, hit me up. I might find a place for you to put your money (or at least your time & efforts) where your mouth is.