Identify how you have achieved/demonstrated a commitment to your short-term (18 months since last September) and long-term goals for giving. Describe the steps you took to be successful. Identify and explain the barriers that you had to overcome or that obstructed your success. Were they financial, physical, social/emotional, technical, cultural, and/or political? Finally, how did AU support you in achieving your goals for giving?
Giving is meant to come from a sincere place, because sincerity is what makes your passion, your dedication, and your work go the extra mile. This past September we were tasked with coming up with short-term and long-term goals for giving in our own philanthropic manner. When I came up with my goals, I wanted to be as realistic as possible, because after the eighteen months I wanted to be happy with the work I had done. Looking back, I can away that I’m content with my work, but I’m sure that I could’ve done a better job. This way I wouldn’t just be content with my work, but I’d be proud of my work.
One of my goals was my work with the Hope for the Holidays book drive. We were able to raise 400 books for the charter school CentroNia. We had a goal of raising 1000 books, but did not reach that mark. I think that the barrier to this was probably more of a social barrier, in the sense that as leaders we were unable to work together as effectively. Although we had weekly meetings we were still unable to raise the amount of books that we needed. I think that organization and vision is key to success, and we probably weren’t as invested as we should’ve been. Going back to Give Smart which stresses that everyone needs to be on the same page success wise, and I think some of us were more committed than others. Organizationally, we tended to stick to what was “assigned” to us, but in order to have been most effective we all needed to put our heads together and think cohesively.
Another one of my short-term goals was to give to a cause as a part of the Jolkona foundation. One of the causes that I’ve been giving to is for the Roots & Wings International Computer Literacy program. They provide introductory computer training for impoverished rural youth in rural Guatemala, and prepares these students to go beyond their elementary education. It’s estimated that up to 70% of rural communities in Guatemala are illiterate. I found this statistic to be sobering, but at the same time one that was close to home, because my father came from a rural community in El Salvador and he didn’t learn to read Spanish until they gave him a Bible here in the United States. Thus far, Roots and Wings has donated twenty-five computers in Nahuala and serves over 250 children ranging from the ages of 5-11.
For my long-term goals I said that I wanted to serve on a non-profit and this year I believe that my work with FotoSynthesis will provide me with experience for doing so. I’ve also been trying to single out the type of non-profit that I hope to serve, and after figuring out in what field I wanted to work in, this decision became much clearer. Hopefully, I’ll be able to work with a non-profit in the field of education, and bring in my own perspectives and experience that I have in the field to my job in the non-profit. I also feel that being a part of a non-profit will also come as a natural progression the further I go down my life. I believe that I will gradually become more passionate about certain subjects as I learn more about them, and this will happen as I simultaneously grow professionally within my career.
I also said that I wanted to somehow help the people in Central America. My contributions with Jolkona are one small step towards this, but I’m sure that I will go beyond this, but for now this is one of my steps to reaching this long term goal. Not only this, but I would also like to go on an alternative break to Central America, preferably El Salvador. I feel like this would give be the next step to further help the people in Central America. I also feel like that I need to locate exactly what it is that I want do there. How can I be of the best help? It’s important to focus on one thing, that will provide measurable resutls, as opposed to having that “Save the country” mentality.
Finally, one of my reservations in my September blog post were my long term goals. I felt afraid and a bit hesitant, because my I had these dreams, but my vision did not let me see them. I predicted that AU would foster my ambition, and now that I am done with my first year, I can sincerely say that my vision has expanded, and I can see myself doing these things. I’m confident that my abilities will grow as my experiences within FDDS and within AU multiply. So, in a grand sense this is how AU has helped me foster my goals, but on a practical level, most of these goals, have been supported by FDDS. My short term goals came about because, one was a project created by a Frederick Douglass Scholar, and my other short-term goal was inspired by a shared-reading that we had within the program. It was the book Giving 2.0, and the authors always provided examples about effective philanthropy, and one of them was the Jolkona foundation.
In the end I hope that I continue with my giving goals, and can look back and be satisfied with the work that I did. The goals that I accomplish should be able to have measurable impacts within the communities that I want to serve.