Just Be-Cause

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about what matters to me. What causes and charities do I want to spend my time volunteering at and donating money to.  I haven’t been good at this in my life. I have done some volunteer events for the breast cancer walks and other bike rides and things but those causes weren’t necessarily near and dear to my heart in the same way others may be. I even taught a man how to read once but I am not convinced he didn’t know how to read. I think he just liked hitting on me.

I used to think that homelessness was my thing until I worked at a homeless shelter for about a year in development and realized that I didn’t really have a passion for it.  In fact, I really despised going to the basement into the actual shelter and seeing people serve food. I have trouble going into shelters because they usually smell (the same way I feel about not wanting to go into nursing homes).  I did some outside gardening once for the shelter, which was fine, but then I got a horrible case of poison ivy from it so I didn’t do that again! Now when I drive by a homeless person at an intersection I pray that I make the green light or I’ll drive really slowly so that by the time I reach the person I don’t have to spend the entire 90 seconds of the light sitting next to him. (And yes, him because usually it’s a man).

Don’t take all this the wrong way. I do feel for the homeless and I hope that they get help, and find homes and have people build them homes and they are provided with the services needed to get themselves off the street but I just don’t want that to be my cause.

Yesterday on Inside Edition I watched a segment about Kim Kardashian buying out a stadium for Kayne’s birthday and it was $100,000 for the night. I got to thinking that $100,000 could go to 10 schools and provide children in low economic communities the opportunity to some of the educational benefits of those in rich suburban neighborhoods. BTW, I spelled Kardashian wrong and that word actually showed up in spellcheck.  I think if your last name shows up in spellcheck you should automatically be required to donate $100,000 a week.

I am very passionate about the charity Trio Animal Foundation, which I found on Facebook. This is an amazing organization that saves dogs in the Chicago area from some of the most unspeakable circumstances and brings them back to health and adopted. I can’t go a single day without seeing an update from them and not wanting to donate my entire paycheck. But do I? No! I have been following them for probably almost a year and I have yet to give them a single penny and that is just wrong. So should that be my cause? Helping rescued animals? Would sending $50 a month do that? When a friend’s animal dies I usually donate money to the ASPCA in their honor, but that isn’t enough.

Do I volunteer at an animal shelter? Do I join a board of shelter? Do I do design work for one? Run an event? Do I train Fred to be a therapy dog? And by therapy dog, I mean a dog that makes people need to go to therapy.

What about kids?  It kills me to know that not all children are given the same levels of opportunity in our educational system. That not all children get to eat healthy meals at school or that some children only get their meals at school. Do I donate to a cause like this? Is that enough?

I like to think I am a community-minded person but I have yet to prove that to myself or my community. So from today forward I am going to make a conscious decision to donate to an animal shelter of my choice monthly and donate at least an hour a month doing something good for my community. As long as it doesn’t smell bad where I am going.

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