Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Power of Charity

Hello everyone.
On a daily basis, I try to do a tremendous amount of thinking. Not thinking while listening to music, or thinking while eating dinner, but just thinking where I sit down and remove myself from any possible form of disturbance. It is during these periods of uninterrupted thinking when I get my good ideas.

One of the ideas that I've been mulling over during the past few weeks is why I haven't given more to charities. I've already mentioned before that I have several tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt to pay back, and that I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth. And if you're anything like me, most of your paycheck is consumed by basic living expenses such as food and rent. However, I thought that there had to be more to my reluctance to giving to charity. Using the things I mentioned above as excuses was taking the easy way out.

After a few weeks of serious self-examination, I realized that for the most part, my money profile is that of "hoarder". You see, growing up, even though there was enough to go around, there was never excess money in my family. We got by, through thrift and the grace of God. I imagine that this subconsciously instilled in me a sense that I have to preserve and protect every single cent that I have. Unfortunately, this is not the way to wealth, and more importantly, it isn't the way to a fulfilled life. Let me explain.

God, or whatever higher universal power you believe in, has placed us on this earth, I believe, to be of service to others. This service can be through teaching, encouragement of others when they're feeling down, volunteering time and energy, and giving money. When I think about the atrocities that are taking place in Africa, particularly Sudan, and how such small sums can drastically change lives, I can't help but give. In college, in my Political Economy of Development class, I learned that half of the world lives on less than $2 a day. $2 a day! That's ridiculous. That's the fare to get on public transportation in New York City!

So I've decided that every paycheck, I will donate $25 to Africare - an African-American led organization that provides potable water, healthcare, and shelter for displaced Sudanese. It also contributes water/food and healthcare in other parts of Africa, but right now, Sudan and Chad is where their efforts are focused. I have also decided to give $100 to my junior high school alma mater, De La Salle Academy, in order to help the defray the cost of tuition for a low-income student.

So go ahead, donate. Even if you feel it might hurt your pockets. You'll see how good it feels to be of assistance to someone who needs your money much more than you do. Boy, am I glad that I didn't wait until I had my loans paid off in order to start giving back to the world, monetarily.

Thanks for reading and until next time...


Suzanne said...

THANK YOU for choosing Africare! We greatly appreciate your support and would love to get in touch if you are interested in more information. You are an inspiration!

Suzanne and Lindsey
Marketing and Development

Sam said...

JC, you rock! I'm really impressed by your self-reflective thinking. It turns out great ideas that inspire and challenge.

I'm a big fan of your giving plan and just wanted to throw in my own endorsement. I developed my own giving plan for the first time last year and have found it to be incredibly meaningful. The meaning isn't connected to the size of the contribution, so don't think that any amount is too small!

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