Between the dysfunction of our government and the rather bleak financial outlook, I sometimes find myself feeling dispirited (not to mention annoyed, frustrated, shocked, angry or discouraged). An email I received this afternoon was a wonderful antidote to gloomy thoughts about the future!
We don’t have much contact with young people in our traveling lifestyle (which reminds me of a funny story, totally off-topic: as we conversed with another retired couple recently, they mentioned the significant health problems of a friend. I asked how old he is. The reply? “Young. He just got on Medicare.” Boy, did we laugh about that!)
So, back to the email, which really cheered me… My 21-year old niece Claire wrote, detailing how she is spending her time until she returns to school at UC Berkeley in January (pursuing a degree in Peace and Conflict Studies). Claire has designed for herself a “Read-A-Thon”, raising funds for Building Tomorrow to help build schools in Uganda. This is an excerpt from her email:
“This fall, I am conducting a five month long Read-a-Thon to benefit a non-profit called Building Tomorrow. This organization constructs schools in Uganda, where many children are unable to attend school due to a lack of funding and infrastructure. I contacted One Day’s Wages, another non-profit that works to end poverty by providing grants to various organizations like Building Tomorrow, a couple weeks ago with my proposal for the Read-a-Thon. They agreed to help me and will even match every dollar I raise.
The goal of this Read-a-Thon is to raise $7,000 and read 7,000 pages between August 7, 2011 and January 7, 2012. I chose these dates because I am not going to be in school this fall because I was recently admitted to UC Berkeley as a spring transfer. Therefore, I decided to further my education by spending these months reading and raising funds for a great cause.”
Claire is posting daily updates on her blog, Reading for Uganda – and her effort has been profiled by Building Tomorrow on their blog, which you can read here. Besides partnering with Building Tomorrow and working to get the matching funds from One Day’s Wages, she has been inspired by the first book she read (Swimming to Antarctica by Lynne Cox) to contact her Senators and Representatives to see if they might give her a campaign a boost via social media:
“… I’m not sure what kind of responses I’ll get (assuming that I get any), but if Barbara Boxer would just tweet the One Day’s Wages campaign URL, I would be thrilled. I am planning to email Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, Congressional Representative Doris Matsui, State Senator Darrell Steinberg, and Assemblymember Roger Dickinson.”
You go, girl!! I hope Barbara Boxer will tweet; I don’t have the contacts she does, but I’ll do what I can to get the word out, too. :)
If you take a look at Claire’s blog, you might feel moved to pledge or contribute, or you may simply enjoy following her daily posts for a glimpse of one person’s inspired effort to make a difference. I am immensely cheered.