This Goal Is Finished
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Today’s TGIF achiever is Jackie Weisman. Jackie is one of the most kind-hearted people we know, as evidenced below by her ongoing goal of saving the world! She’s also quite busy, but seems to fit it all into her schedule. Read more about how Jackie is making in impact in the local community and loving every minute of it.
If only I could sum myself up in a few short sentences! Being as ADHD as I am, I prefer phrases: 20-something, social media guru for Color Coded Professional Organizing, entrepreneur wrangler for the Entrepreneurs’ Organization, volunteer for Pathways of Northern Virginia, chronic hobby-er, Navy sister, professional organizer, wedding planner, weight watcher except when I’m enjoying great food.
This is a tough question since I tend to think of goals in a traditional sense – this is what I am going to do in this time frame. But most of my goals are a work in progress, or on-going goals that not able to be checked off a list. One of those goals is to give back to the community using my time and talent, or as I like to put it, attempting to save the world. What does that include? Reaching out locally to make a difference by volunteering, donating and educating myself.
Why This Goal?
I can’t say there was a time when this goal popped in my head and I set out to accomplish it. I grew up in an area of Maryland that has many disadvantaged families, so I was aware of poverty early on. My parents were amazing role models who encouraged my brother and I to donate toys, adopt a family around the holidays, help make meals during Thanksgiving and be aware of how blessed we are to have many things others do not.
The First Step
It’s so easy for me to say ‘I don’t have time’ or ‘I can’t make that big an impact’, but when I realized all the opportunities and small ways I could make a difference, there was no room for excuses. The first step was to find opportunities that fit in with my lifestyle. I clearly could not take a year off to live in Haiti, but I could donate money to Red Cross. I couldn’t go back to school to be a social worker, but I could volunteer once a month at a shelter. The most difficult part was downsizing my goal of changing the world, and breaking it into a smaller, more realistic goal of starting locally.
As a newlywed, dog owner and someone who juggles multiple jobs, finding free time is a challenge. First and foremost – if everyone used that excuse, nothing would get done to help a vast number of people. Also, there are SO many opportunities and causes, it would be impossible not to find something that fits in with my lifestyle. I spent time looking at causes that are important to me, but I knew that volunteering at an animal shelter wouldn’t make me happy (However, it would make me a multiple dog owner – not good!), so that cause was taken off my list of possible places to volunteer. Just because you are passionate about a cause doesn’t mean you have to put yourself in an uncomfortable situation. There are plenty of opportunities behind the scenes. Also, some of the organizations looking for volunteers require a lot of training and time commitments, which I didn’t have time for. It took awhile for me to find my regular volunteer position, one that worked for my schedule and my interests.
I won’t lie; it’s hard to make time to volunteer. But I knew from experience, once I got there and saw the difference I was making, and the difference it makes in my life, the inconvenience of it was forgotten. Knowing that I am giving back to my community was extremely rewarding.
Aside from my families influence, I utilized sites like Idealist to find opportunities to use my skills. I signed up for local organization’s mailing lists so I can be aware of volunteer and in kind needs. Though I volunteer on a regular basis for Pathways of Northern Virginia, I do other one time things like sending magazines to the troops, donating to Goodwill and giving money to organizations that help my causes.
TGIF – Celebrate!
As you can see, my goal will never be finished but the goal of volunteering on a regular basis has been accomplished. I celebrate that by looking forward to my regular ‘gig’ at Pathways, and being happy that every now and again, I can contribute in small ways with other opportunities. I’ve figured out that no one is going to save the world alone; it’s an on-going and joint venture.
Start small! Reflect on what causes are important to you and find ways to support them locally. If you can take a year sabbatical and go save the rainforest, that’s awesome. But if you can’t – you can always drop off some old clothes to Goodwill or canned food to your local food pantry; you can always find one night a month to make a small difference in one person’s life.
While I still teach crafts to a group of lovely ladies at Pathways, I am always looking for different ways to give back. My brother is deploying again this fall to Afghanistan, so everyone around me will have the chance to help put together care packages for the troops. I am also working towards becoming a full time professional organizer.