If the ultimate purpose, or mission of my life, is to create a utopian world, where all people have free and equal access to healthcare, education, housing, nutritious food, and active transportation, then I must identify smaller more achievable goals and objectives that I can actually work towards achieving. This is important because unless I achieve my dream of a perfect world, I will be depressed or dissapointed in my failure to have done so.
It is one thing for me to say that I have the responsibility to create a world that I can believe in, it is another thing entirely to move in that direction. This is what makes a personal mission statement such a challenging and humbling task. My everyday actions must reflect that. If not, then I am not living true to myself; I am not honoring my true nature. I must take this upon myself to actually work towards what I believe in.
For the last several years I have worked in public health nutrition, in service to my community, working to ensure that families with young children enjoy nutritious meals together and are supported and empowered to lead lives rich with health and wellness. I have seen firsthand how conversations about nutrition positively impact families and this has been a very rewarding experience but I need to do more to achieve my mission. Today I take some time to set a few personal goals for volunteering, philanthropy, and advocacy.
Volunteering and Service
Volunteering has been an important part of my life for several years. In high school a group of friends and I organized a short seminar to educate the community about volunteer opportunities. We did this because we believed in the spirit of community and we were committed to bringing people together to work towards achieving our common interest, community improvement.
In college I was the recipient of scholarships that required me to engage in forty hours of community service each year. This was such a rewarding experience for me because I got to engage in meaningful conversation with other students that also had a committment to service. During our service we would have incredibly motivational discussions about why we believed community service was so vital to the life of our community. This spirit of community has stayed with me now into my professional life as a public servant to my community.
Now I do not engage in volunteering or service as I once did but if I am to achieve a greater sense of personal satisfaction from my life I must seek out these opportunities and volunteer my time to causes that hold true to my spirit.
Although I have been less engaged in volunteering than I once was, I have opened my wallet to the needs of others, donating a portion of my salary to organizations that I believe in. Organizations that work to improve the community in areas of education, addressing hunger, improving access to health care, and supporting free thinking have been the primary recipients of my funding.
I seek to continue and expand my giving to give larger amounts to more organizations.
Advocacy and Policy Work
I recognize the important role that public policy and legislation has in community improvement. Without government support, communities may not have what is necessary to address immediate and future issues. With this in mind I have committed myself to keeping in regular contact with my elected officials.
It is also important to start up the conversation in our everyday life. Adovocacy is not just about communicating with lawmakers it includes telling our family and friends about what we are passionate about, encouraging civic engagement, and sharing the stories that motivate us.
I've briefly discussed the different faces of the community service triangle because I believe that to create a larger fulfillment in one's life one must engage in their community and work towards creating lasting positive change. In sharing this I hope to accomplish two things, inspire more people to engage in service and to write down my goals for service in a public space.
On a closing note I wanted to share a couple of my favorite organizations to give to. Please consider a donation to any of these. Clicking on the links below will open a new browser window or tab.
- Harlem Children's Zone
- Electronic Frontier Foundation
- American Civil Liberties Union
- American Atheists
- Feeding America
- Southwest Human Development
- Physicians for a National Health Program
- The YMCA
- Arizona State University
- Equality Now
- Humane Borders
- Food Research and Action Center
- Center for Science in the Public Interest
- MIT OpenCourseWare
- Mountain Park Health Center
- United Farm Workers
- Safe Kids
- Big Brothers Big Sisters
- Planned Parenthood
- Expect More Arizona
- National Wellness Institute
- National Strength and Conditioning Association
- American Anthropological Association
- Creative Commons