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Pay it forward

It’s one thing to like the a job you’re paid to do, but it’s quite another to get paid for doing something you absolutely love. To me that is the ultimate win-win. And between workshops and events for organizations that could afford to pay me, 2023 was a good year.

Ever mindful of the  old saying “ to whom much is given much is required”  this year I decided to pay it forward, and work with some organizations, some at a reduced rates or gratisothers and others  by offering my services to fund raise. (Fundraiser for Norris Square Neighborhood Ptoject)

I’m not telling you this to toot my own horn, but to encourage you to volunteer you. Many of the organizations I hold nearest, and dearest, those that  fight for urban green spaces, urban ag, land & food sovereignty and housing security need funding for programs that serve urban communities and give kids viable options to learn, grow and prosper, in stark contrast to the city which closes rec centers and libraries with one hand, while dangling promises of multiple artificially turfed fields for organized sport teams they tout as the answer to youth gun violence.

There is no one panacea, to tackle gun crime. We need to give kids outlets and options and guidance, and we can’t wait until they're teenagers; we need to start at a very young age. Although organized sport is a great way to foster community and instill discipline, it's not the only answer.

I am a second generation nerd. My mother was the cheerleader and popular and played baseball. My dad was into astronomy and chemistry, scouting and chess. To this day, I remain a big fan of library, having spent so much time in the main library in Wilmington, Delaware at Rodney Square. Throughout high school, I was on the library Council. I was not sporty. The closest I came to it was being on the audiovisual team, filming our basketball team.

Ironically, those that were the best and brightest on the field, generally don’t continue playing past a certain age. The skills that I learned from library books I still practice, and that has enabled me to teach others lost skills.

So I’m encouraging you to stop complaining about the situation in Philadelphia and do something that could actually change it. Donating money is great but,

As my husband and I have learned through our making of things, often bartering is a higher value better exchange. I can help an organization, that I love and aligns with my core beliefs, and they can in turn, parlay that into greater funds, than I would be able to donate personally.

One of the reasons many kids become involved with the wrong people is because they make them feel they're a part of some thing; a crew a gang, a team. So let’s be the alternative that teaches, that offers other options and a sense of belonging.

If you know how to do something, show those skills to your community. I’m constantly  surprised that knowledge I take for granted, like making jams,  or turning regular sugar into brown or powdered sugar, are skills many folks don’t have.

So put down the phone turn off the television and engage with folks you can inspire to create life instead of destroying it.

Nothing I've ever binge watched has thanked me for the time I put in. But I've received warm smiles and eye shining thank yous from folks who now know the benefits of plantain or see a weed differently. And that, is immensely rewarding.

So try it, you might like it.


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