Wednesday, February 1

The Grand Idea that Will Change the World

This is an honest story from an honest girl who simply wants to make her mark, make a difference, and make a change...

Ever since I was a little girl, my mother would tell me a story of when I was in kindergarten, and how my teacher, Mrs. Maureen Fritz, told her that, "she could expect great things from Becky."  Great things.  Great things.  Great things.  I've lived with these inspiring, yet sometimes terrifying, words praying and wishing and hoping that I would have that "Aha!" moment, and those "Great things" would just appear out of thin air, and I could fulfill Mrs. Fritz's prophecy and make my parents proud {because, really, isn't that what we ALL strive for?}.  She didn't say that I would be a nice girl.  She didn't say that I would do well in school.  She said that I would do great things.

This word "great" reappears later down the road when I am in High School.  My favorite teacher, coach, mentor, and friend {at least I thought of her as such...and I just KNOW that I was her favorite} taught me Proverbs 22:1 "A good name is to be chosen above Great riches."  OK.  So here's how I see it.  No matter what Great things I achieve, my integrity and pure heart has to remain intact in order to achieve these great things.  That is not always easy.    

Fast forward 14 years later to the present time.  If you can do math, that puts me at 30, and I'm not even ashamed to admit my age.  I love that someone still thinks I look younger than that, since I was believed to be about 18 for the LONGEST time, and always got carded.  Wouldn't that be a compliment and turn-on; to get carded again.  Focus.  OK.  I'm 30, married for what seems forever, but has really only been 6 years, 7 years...I don't know {smile}, with what used to be a baby who is now going to turn 3 in 2 weeks {CAN'T BELIEVE IT!}, stay-at-home mom turned couponer for financial reasons, and am still searching for that BIG idea that would fall under Alex Trebek's category of "Great Things" for $500.  Let's make it a true daily double, Alex.

Well, I've had one.  One, what?  A BIG idea.  Not the kind when someone asks you sarcastically and with an attitude, "What's the big idea?"  A real big idea...and here's how it happened...

I was in the shower...{I know, but I really was...}...So, I was in the shower, and I was praying about life and making a difference.  The Holy Spirit entered my heart, blessed me with my inspiration, and I could've nearly shouted with excitement!  My heart was racing, my energy level was soaring...but I didn't know where to begin or how to make it happen.

I've had this World-Changing idea on my mind and in my heart for a few months now, and because I can't make it happen alone, I have no choice but to share.  But you know what?  It goes along the lines of sharing, so it only seems appropriate that I would have to share my idea in order to share with others around me.

After being home with my baby for almost 3 years now, I felt a little separated from society, and have been one of those moms that connects with friends and family by means of the internet: namely, Facebook and email.  I haven't had much time to talk on the phone, but I never fail to check on status updates, recently uploaded photos, and location check-ins.  But I know that staying home and doing laundry, grocery shopping, and cutting coupons is not what I am destined to do for the remainder of my life.  However, I can be very shy around "strangers" and people I don't know, which makes it hard to start and foster new relationships {making new friends}.  I attended a private Lutheran school from K-8th grade, and then moved up to a private Lutheran High School.  I was always sort of a big fish in a little pond.  Sheltered.  Taught never to speak to strangers.  It's kind of hard to break that habit, especially with all the creepers in the world.  Yet I still have an aching and yearning to help other people.  Super.  Shy, yet wants to be involved.  Shy, yet wants to help other people. Hmmm...

I started becoming more understanding and appreciative of community when I learned more about local businesses and local farmers{and especially Farmer's Markets} and how important they are to society, to our culture, and to each other.  I noticed that my neighbor has a lemon tree in his front yard.  He let us know that whenever we wanted some, we were always welcome to have as many as we'd like.  Awesome.  Like they say on Sesame Street, "Oh these are the people in your neighborhood, in your neighborhood, in your neighborhood...", and it's true!  So naturally, what goes around comes around, and treat others and you would have them treat you.  I let down my guard some, and started talking with our immediate neighbors a little more.  I started sharing baked goods with my neighbors, and accepting {and eating} the ones they share with us.  I was always under the {misguided} impression that home-baked goods were laced with poison and that nobody would want the ones that I made.  False.  People care.  People appreciate.  People respect.

Once I began to think beyond myself and my little bubble of life, I realized the importance of getting involved in bigger ways.  I served food at a soup kitchen in high school, and I have volunteered at my church for various things.  But now that I'm a couponer {or use coupons as much as I can}, I, like others, get things for free/super cheap sometimes, yet in an excess and don't know where to take them.  During back-to-school time, there were coupons for $1 off of Papermate pens, and they were on sale at Target for $1.  FREE. {plus tax}  Same thing for 2-packs of black Sharpies {I heart Sharpies}.  FREE. {plus tax}  But neither my husband nor I had a use for them, so I put them all in a bag, and waited for the right person to give them to.  I waited, and waited, and waited, and wanted to get them out of my house but didn't want to give them to "just anybody."  It came about that Tiny Baker's Godmother was collecting items to put together some backpacks filled with school supplies to take down to Tijuana, so we gave her all the pens and Sharpies, and felt so good.  She was happy.  We were happy.  Yet, I still wasn't satisfied.  I wasn't satisfied because what was I going to do the next time that I had items to donate, but no idea where to send them?

And here's the answer that will Change The World {seriously}...
 
"Meeting Needs With Necessities"  {this is the point/mission}

I envision an online site where both Nonprofit Organizations/Groups and volunteers/donators can sign up, customize their profiles, and get matched up with one another to fulfill and meet needs with necessities. {time, goods, services}

Here's how it works {and I can't wait to sign up}...

1. An Organization joins and then registers and updates their profile whenever they are going to have/host a  function {ie. soup kitchens, blanket drives, canned food drive, etc.}.  They'll enter the location, time, and all information that applies.  They can also click on and customize with whatever items they are in need of {shaving gel, laundry detergent, paper towels, toilet paper, etc.}.

2.  Volunteers/Donators  join and register with their personal information {all private, this is not a social networking site}, there will be some form of "Verified Volunteer" status, they can also fully customize their profiles by clicking on their favorite organizations, groups, causes, and can even choose by "Kids"or "Shelters", based on what and whom they prefer to help and get involved with.  They will also have the choice to click on designated items that they may have readily available to donate {pens, paper, clothes, food, money, etc.}  Next, Volunteers/Donators will choose their specific area in which they are available to help out {city, state, country...} and the times in which they are available; Sunday through Saturday, and even click on specific times if they are so inclined.  They don't have to, but they have the option to get as specific and detailed as they want.

Here is an example.  I am Jane Doe, and I am available to volunteer/lend a helping hand on Mondays and Tuesdays.  I live in San Diego, and am available from 1-4pm.  What would happen then is I would receive notifications, ahead of time {meaning before the actual event}, informing me of a Volunteer opportunity in my area on my designated day and time, that I could choose to participate in.  I may be required to contact the Volunteer coordinator for further information or to sign up, or if I am a "Verified Volunteer", and have been "checked out" and/or am a frequent volunteer, I may have the option, depending on the function/event, to click "attend" and sign up immediately.  The Organization for which I am signing up will then be notified of my sign-up, and they will add me to their list and can count on me to be present to help.

I may also receive a notification of a last-minute/spontaneous event, if it applies to my location and time available.  This would be awesome if someone has an hour to share/spare, say, during a lunch hour.  This can work for any and all people.  Sometimes you only have 2 hours to spare.  Sometimes, only a half an hour.  

This can also work world-wide, not only for people of all countries, but also for traveling Volunteers.  If I'm going out of town in May, from the 14-27th, to travel to England, and am available on the 15th for 3 hours {1-4pm}, I can mark that on my profile, and if there is an event in the area {in England} whether before or the same day, I can be notified and do some volunteer work while abroad.

If I were going to New York {which I will get there, someday!!} and wanted to help out, I would be able to specify when and where I would be, on which days, and what types of events/organizations I would be interested in helping with, and then be notified.  {I'll see you someday, NY!!  I love you!!}

This "Meeting Needs with Necessities" superhighway is the epitome of Changing the World.  You must think about others in order to have Grand ideas.  Life is about caring and sharing.  This caring and sharing sees no color, it sees no religion.  It sees love, it sees need.

Sometimes I'm at home and I have no idea how I can get involved in my own San Diego community, because I don't have the specific name of a Nonprofit Organization to Google.  This would solve that.  It is a one-stop-shop for all Organizations {that join...and I definitely encourage all to join}.  It allows us to see that we can help with the Make-A-Wish foundation and St. Vincent De Paul's {just a few examples}, that maybe before we would not have had any idea that we could... I would encourage all Groups {that host Volunteer events} to join.  Churches, Nonprofits...  Supporting business can add a "badge" that says they're a member and affiliated with the "Do-Gooders" {Or whatever name it has}  I see t-shirt fundraisers to support the "Do-Gooders."  I see stickers posted everywhere.  I see SmartPhone Apps.  I see bake-sales.  I see California Cottage Law-abiders baking and donating.  I see websites proudly hosting a "Do-Gooder" member logo on their website.  I see "Powered by Google".  I see Etsy.  I see Martha Stewart.  I see The Fabulous Beekman Boys.  I see Mrs. Obama and the President.  I see doctors joining.  I see lawyers joining.  I see humans ready to make a change.

This doesn't leave anyone out.  This maximizes volunteers for all volunteer opportunities.  This is "Meeting Needs with Necessities". 

This is how we will end world-hunger.  This is how we will end homelessness.  This is how we will end AIDS.  This is how we will change the world.

Greatest Inspiration for "Do-Gooders":
  1. Google {I am such a fan of Google. I love to Google search. I love how all Google Apps work perfectly together. Though not a huge fan of Google+, I love so many other apps, such as Gmail, GTalk, Docs, Sites, Pages...}
  2. Stumble! {I envision the clickable personalization of "Do-Gooders" to mimic that of Stumble, where you click your likes, and what kinds of things you want to see, and request information about..." {It's not about "stumbling" the organizations. I just really like how I can click on "technology" and "photography" and then see all things relating to those topics I chose.}
  3. Extreme Makeover Home Edition {These are ordinary people doing extraordinary things.}

    Are you ready?



    -Becky Charms
    2012 Cheer & Triumph