Lack of basic educational supplies here… lack of clean drinking water there…
How does a caring soul decide who to help?
During the sixth anniversary celebration of Youth Creating Change, Ghana, I gleaned two tips that have since saved me some serious stress about world aid.
Perhaps these tips will help you, too!
TIP ONE: One Youth, One Community at a Time.
This is the official motto of YCC. And what a calming, wise mantra this is! If you are ever panicking, thinking, “There are so many people I have NOT helped who need me!” then take a deep breath and remember the INDIVIDUALS you have helped, and are currently helping.
Even if you have just improved the life of ONE person, that is an extremely important accomplishment! That person will likely go on to aid many others, and thus you have made an even bigger impact than you realize.
The old story goes: A man was throwing dying starfish from the beach back into the sea to save their lives. A passerby exclaimed: “There are millions of starfish along this beach! Your work can’t possibly make a difference!” The man responded, holding up a single starfish he was in the process of saving: “It makes a difference to this one.”
TIP TWO: Help those who will make the most of your aid.
Try your hand at a question posed by YCC staff member, Collins, to the YCC youth during the anniversary celebration:
A frog and a lizard are both sitting sadly on the ground, asking you for help to climb the giant tree nearby. You can only help one. Which one do you help?
Think long and hard about your answer and your reasons for selecting it. Got a guess? Good.
The Answer: You help the lizard. Why? Because if you help the frog up to a branch, he does not have the physical ability to climb higher, and thus he will only plummet back to the ground.
The lizard, however, only needs a boost to the first knot, and he will then be able to zoom upwards to the highest branch!
Collins told this story to show that YCC wants to help students who have the desire, determination, and strength to help themselves as well.
You don’t want to train someone for years only to have them plunk to the ground, idle!
“We have gathered you here today on this Saturday,” explained Collins to the twenty-five students under the trees, “to remind all of you that we expect you to increasingly take up the mantle of leadership within YCC and within our communities. We do not expect our investment in you to go to waste, but rather we expect us all to continue growing and developing our communities together.”
Collins paused so that all the voices under the trees could sing out together, joyfully:
“…ONE YOUTH, ONE COMMUNITY AT A TIME!”
The author, Lillie Marshall, is 6-foot-tall National Board Certified Teacher of English, fitness fan, and mother of two who has been a public school educator since 2003. She launched Around the World “L” Travel and Life Blog in 2009, and over 4.2 million readers have now visited this site. Lillie also runs TeachingTraveling.com and DrawingsOf.com. Subscribe to her monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media!