Even as a very young girl, I have always had a deep need for fairness, justice and giving back. Matt and I believe it is just as important to raise our kids with an emphasis on social awareness and giving back to the community, as it is to teach them how to do chores and how to learn academically.
When our first born was two and a half, Hurricane Maria ravaged the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. At the time, we were living in a latino neighborhood in Chicago and many locals were Puerto Rican. After the disaster, local organizations were collecting money and goods to help the people impacted. Our son was immediately enthusiastic and gave a few dollars to the people collecting on the street. We talked about what happened and how we could help. He talks about that simple task today. **Hurricane Maria still negatively impacts Puerto Rico. Find out how to help here.
When we lived in Chicago we also had the opportunity to grow a relationship with a Syrian refugee family. We visited regularly, eating and playing our way to friendship. Our kids connected to children that didn’t look like them, worship like them, speak like them, live like them or have the same opportunities as them. Even though they were very young and we live in North Carolina now, they still talk about playing with their friends and the impact those relationships had on their lives.
In an effort to eliminate clutter and live more minimalistically, we collected our well-loved toys to donate to our local shelter. Our children were delighted and excited to find the toys that could go to kids that don’t have toys or books at their house. Seeing their enthusiasm sparked a thought in us that kids are inherently giving, we just don’t give them enough chances to flex those muscles.
We are in a time of growing equality and transparency. This is not without growing pains and tension. As a white family benefiting from a systemically racist society, how can we help amplify the voices and power of people of color? Listening, awareness and doing work in ourselves is a start. Craftingood is a way to learn about the racism that still permeates our world and to support people of color, specifically authors and illustrators of color. To learn more about racism, white privilege and how to do your work and be an ally in every situation, take courses/buy books /follow these powerful people: Rachel Rickets, Catriciology, Shishi Rose, ACLU, among others. I learn mostly from the relationships and studying I have invested in through my local racial justice group, Unity In Community.
Social entrepreneurship is an increasingly popular business model and one that we value when we shop. I had the extreme privilege to work with Robyn Hill-Emmons through establishing a community garden a few years ago. She has written a very thoughtful essay about the future of giving, serving, non-profit and social entrepreneurship. This inspired my passion to take the social entrepreneurship route vs. a traditional business or non-profit model.
All of these circumstances as well as the opportunity to spend more time at home with my kids have brought me to “such a time as this”. I am excited to see what ripples through this venture.
Thanks for inspiring a kinder world with us!