Daily Prompt: If your day to day responsibilities were taken care of and you could throw yourself completely behind a cause, what would it be?
As I go about my morning, eating breakfast, seeing my son off to school, cleaning up, I consider where to begin.
I have no scientific ability at all (I have tried, believe me), but my first thought is that I would like to contribute my time and energy to help clean up the sea. This story has been on my mind a lot lately and though I really believe we are beyond being able to make everything “ok” again, I do believe it is important to do what we can. It’s a horrific situation.
Sadly, there are so many horrific situations. Where does one begin and how does one make the greatest impact? How do you choose to throw the weight of the time you have left in your life behind one cause, leaving the others to someone else? Does it matter?
We are so fortunate while so much of this world is not. And I am a caring person, I genuinely support the stated ideals of many charities and would gladly throw myself behind any number of their causes if I thought it would make a real difference.
But I am skeptical of the big causes, of the benefits of throwing myself behind any of them. For one thing, I am completely put off by those who accost me on the street, get right in my face and attempt to shame me or strong arm me into donating. Around here, Red Cross and Amnesty International are the worst, a very offensive canvasser from the latter organization having asked why we don’t support human rights when my husband asked him to get out of his face. If that is how they run their fundraising, how do they run their charity?
I have donated to various big charities during my life, and in some cases I have seen some small effects of this giving. But overall, I haven’t been convinced that they are really capable of making the right kind of difference. In Dark Star Safari, Paul Theroux writes about his impressions of Africa forty years after he first lived there:
“Banks and donors and charities claimed to have had successes in Mozambique. I suspected they invented these successes to justify their existence. I saw no positive results of charitable efforts. But whenever I expressed skepticism…people said…’It was much worse before.’ In many places, I knew, it was much better before.”
Charities, hampered by their need to attract donations and government support, seem to be pretty limited. On the other hand, one person acting on their own can only do so much, but if you make a difference in the life of one other person, in the life of one animal, or an impact somehow, no matter how small, on the environment, isn’t that better than doing nothing at all?
Many people are tempted towards charity tourism – working for a charity as an opportunity to see the world. This could include saving the dolphins off the coast of some exotic locale, building schools in Thailand, working at a refugee camp in Africa, and many more examples, all good causes but selfishly driven. I can see why people would be drawn to them, though. And after all, just because it allows you to travel, doesn’t mean it isn’t helping a good cause, maybe even more than throwing yourself into a big conglomerate charity. But I don’t know if it really is helping in the long run.
I also think of those (people, animals, the environment) that need help right here at home. We cannot forget our own backyard in our urge to go forth into the world and help beyond our borders. Right here, children are living in poverty, adults are homeless and without hope, animals unloved and rejected, the environment stripped bare.
The children are our hope for tomorrow, while the adults are their teachers, those they look to and rely on, but there is not much of a tomorrow if the earth continues to be pillaged and plundered, and animals are helpless and blameless at the mercy of humanity’s actions.
I have been moved by stories of people who have raised money and given 100% of it to South American orphanages, taking the money to the orphanage themselves and directly helping the children while there. They aren’t large scale charities with large scale populations to help, but I’ll bet there is a stronger sense of cause and effect to this type of benevolence, and a greater impact on those whose lives they touch.
I am also moved by the story of a local woman who started an Afro Caribbean dance school which has become a de facto community centre, her husband helping the kids with their school work and the centre providing support and a community base for the families.
Perhaps, then, I would involve myself in local, small-scale efforts through which I, as one person working alone, could contribute in a meaningful way on a daily basis, in support of my community.
I would go to the local library and get involved in literacy supports for children who would not otherwise have access to these, read with them and help to bring in lower-literacy adults so that the adults’ literacy could improve as well.
I would also like to organize a program through which children could visit the elderly, learning to care about and respect the aged.
I would be happy to work with families, teaching them about the environment and what everyone can do to ensure the Earth is still a safe place for future generations to grow up, based perhaps on a community garden through which the community could learn how to grow and harvest their own food.
I would volunteer at the food bank.
I’m not sure whether involvement in a charity helps the donor or the receiver. Perhaps it helps both. But it is important to shed some light on the misconceptions of donating to charities, to ensure that the well-intentioned and earnest efforts of those who give are actually making a difference, a difference for the better. It seems that locally-engaged community work cuts out the middle man and has the potential for direct impact.
More thoughts on causes from the blogging community:
- Many a Possibility | Daily Prompt: Blogger With a Cause | likereadingontrains
- Daily Prompt: Blogger With a Cause | Under the Monkey Tree
- My.Vivid.Visions | Daily Prompt: Blogger With a Cause – Visit to an Old Age Home with Orphanage Kids on Friendship Day
- Unconventional School | Phelio a Random Post a Day
- Blogger with a Cause | Icezine
- We are all in this together: Daily Prompt | alienorajt
- What About The Children? | Prayers and Promises
- Blogger With a Cause | Geek Ergo Sum
- Helping Kids Be Kids [Daily Prompt: Blogger With a Cause] | unknowinglee
- How To Solve Poverty (Monorhyme Sonnet) | Liars, Hypocrites & The Development of Human Emotion
- A cause? How about education? « RPMAS
- daily prompt – lend a hand | pork juice & paper towels
- “Helping Even One Child” | Spirit Lights The Way
- Daily Prompt: Blogger With a Cause. Not. | SERENDIPITY
- No Man’s Silver Or Gold (short fiction) | The Jittery Goat
- Daily Prompt: Help | Books, Music, Photography & Movies : my best friends
- School Board | Conversations
- The Business of Helping Others | Molly Greye
- Daily Prompt: Causes – Fire/EMS | Jottings and Writings
- Daily Prompt: Blogger With a Cause – SPREAD THE LOVE | littlegirlstory
- Reading for a cause | A mom’s blog
- Cause and Effect | Life & Times
- Help! I need somebody! | Everyday Adventures
- 162. Blogger with a Cause | kevindeisher
- Daily Prompt: Blogger With a Cause | Completely Disappear
- Innocent Victims of Wars | Blognovic’s Weblog
- Daily Prompt: Blogger With a Cause | My Atheist Blog
- Pup With a Cause… | Haiku By Ku
- Daily Prompt: Blogger With a Cause | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss
- I Give You the Power to Ask…..(wp daily prompt) | Daily Observations
- Help | Flowers and Breezes
- Causes | Going New Places!
- Daily Prompt: Blogger With a Cause « Mama Bear Musings
- Daily Prompt: ‘Cuz | One Starving Activist
- Daily Prompt: Blogger With a Cause » My Life, My Way, My Words
- If Only I Could Do More | f8 and Be There
- Daily Prompt: Blogger With a Cause | A Western Buddhist’s Travels
- Daily Prompt: Blogger With a Cause | Ruminations from an Introvert
- Out To Pasture | Cowgirl Up!
- “Blogger With a Cause” | Relax
- The Blog of a Sassy Pony » Blogging with a cause
- pay it forwards | Her Broken Nibs
- Do I really have a cause? | Rob’s Surf Report
- But I’m Already Living My Cause | Untitled Entity
- Daily Prompt: Blogger With a Cause, Ending Sex Trafficking in America | College Girl Dai
- Super Rant Alert! The Daily Prompt presses my DO NOT PRESS button! | An Upturned Soul
- Will That Be Medium, Large, Bucket Or Trough? | Eve Livingston, Ph.D.
- I Love Writing | Wise Counsel
- You can’t save the world, but you can save someone! | My thoughts on a page.
- Daily Prompt: Blogger With a Cause 4 Wheel 2 Heal | Kelly’s Life
- Daily Prompt: Blogger With a Cause | To Breathe is to Write
- Daily Post – My Chosen Cause | awritersfountain
- Cause 1…Type 1 that is | Why yes, yes I do
- New post Daily Prompt: Blogger With a Cause 3|9 | familyphotosfoodcraft.com
- You Are My Cause | Mind My Mind But…
- Fear | Nameless Non-ficton
- Be + Cause = Because You Can | Cheri Speak
- Daily prompt // help | simplylifestuff
- Revolution : Blogger With A Cause | thanks for letting me autograph your cat
- Daily Post: Looking At Homelessness | Slam on the Brakes, Pull Over, Take the Picture