Now What?

November 18, 2016 at 11:22 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

I’ve had a hard time posting lately because the last three months or so have been a complete roller coaster of emotions for me. The death of my first grandparent and unfortunate news about my dad’s health were difficult things to deal with and they were juxtaposed with the happiest day and night of my life – mine and Scott’s wedding! The support, love, joy and pure elation we felt that day was something wonderful to be surrounded with. Everything was perfect – and then the election happened. I really do try not to get too political around people who may not want to hear it, but life has not been so rosy after I learned that Donald Trump will be our next President. I’m not going to go into the multitude of reasons why I think this is a terrible, awful, really no-good idea because there are plenty of other people out there talking about that. So instead of focusing on the worry and fear that I feel, I’m insteading choosing to focus on what I can do about it. And here’s what I’ve come up with (so far):

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  • I’ve started monthly donations to Planned Parenthood (in Mike Pence’s name…which put a smile on my face), the ACLU and the Sierra Club. I’m not able to give tons of money but every dollar helps.
  • I took a self-defense class, because I feel helpless and impotent and have some legitimate fears about the safety of myself and my loved ones over the next few years. I’m not exactly Rambo now but it was empowering and I’m going to go back for more.
  • I’ve purchased a trash-picker-upper and will be using it to gather the garbage in my neighborhood. Eventually I’m going to rally my neighbors to do the same – we may not be able to clean up Washington but we can at least take care of our own backyard.
  • I’m continuing my volunteering with the food pantry and the Field Museum. I decided long ago that two causes I feel strongly about are education and poverty, specifically hunger awareness. Volunteering at the pantry and the museum allows me to literally get my hands dirty while making a difference.
  • I’ve called my local congressional representative  to tell them that I’m opposing Trump’s pick of Steve Bannon as his Chief Strategist and urging him to pressure Trump to remove this known white supremacist from the White House.
  • I’ve bought bus tickets for myself and Scott to attend the Women’s March in Washington DC over Inauguration Day weekend. It’s going to be a long weekend spent mostly on a bus but we’ll be there to stand and march with others promoting equal rights. This isn’t a protest but instead a rally to unite women and those who believe in minority causes.
  • I’ve talked about this. I’m talking about this right now! I have refrained from getting into long Facebook arguments because I don’t feel that’s very constructive and instead I have talked with my friends and allies about what we’re feeling and what we’re going to do about it. I’m also trying very hard to keep in mind that four and eight years ago the other side was feeling like I do now. Some of the hate and rage I’ve been seeing from the left is very reminiscent of what I saw during the birth of the Tea Party and it’s scary. It’s also not something I want to be associated with. Not that staying positive and not spewing hate is easy – I want to rant and rave with the best of them but I’m trying not to do so publicly. I would rather put forth an effort to be the change I want to see.

There’s more coming. And even if Trump turns out to be the best President the country has ever seen, the things I’m doing now will still be beneficial in the long run. I believe there’s always been more good in the world than bad and I’m going to do my damndest to keep that true for as long as I’m around to fight!

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Read All About It!

July 14, 2016 at 2:07 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

The company I work for is probably the best company I’ve ever worked for and we do things every day that make me proud to be here. Case in point: we partner with two nonprofit organizations every two years and then dole out a significant amount of money during that time to help them achieve goals and visions that they would not be able to afford to do otherwise. One of the organization’s we’re working with right now collects and distributes books to at-risk kids in Chicago with the goal of giving every child 12 books to take home to keep and use to start their very own personal library. We’re supporting them not just monetarily but through many different service days and activities. I’m acting as the liaison between our company and the nonprofit and I have a big hand in putting the events together and pulling them off – it hasn’t been easy but it has been fun! If you know me, you know I’m quite fond of both kids and books so I feel lucky to be a part of this. We held a Book Drive during the month of June and collected over 2,000 books, which was awesome! Now I’m working on five different days where we’re taking volunteers from our office to different Chicago Public Libraries to literally hand out these books to the kids who come through. We had our first of five events this week and it was AWESOME!

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Not kids from our service day but you get the idea

Apparently, on an average day the nonprofit gives out about 2,000 books to the kids who come through. Well, our first day working with them was quite the initiation as it was the busiest day they expect all year – we passed out over 7,000 books to over 600 kids! It was a super hectic day full of organized chaos and it was really incredible. Our volunteers worked very hard and we had two shifts coming via shuttle to lend a hand. The children we spent time with were so thrilled to be receiving books and there were a few moments where some of us got teary-eyed as we saw just how excited these kids were and how meaningful these books were to them. So many couldn’t believe they got to keep them and that they were free – I was even given a large “Thank You” banner signed by one particular group of kids and I won’t lie, my eyes definitely didn’t stay dry for that!

We have four more distribution days we’re a part of and managing sign-ups, lunches, shuttles and everything else is definitely keeping me busy but it is absolutely worth it. And just one more reason why I love my job!

 

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Fantastic Field Day

June 27, 2016 at 2:04 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

The students of Chicago Public Schools officially began their summer vacation last Tuesday, on June 21st. That seems pretty late in the game but they started school fairly early this year so apparently it all balances out and they’re now enjoying all of the perks that summer has to offer. In an effort to help them end their school year on a bang, a group of coworkers and I put together a Field Day for one of the more economically-challenged schools in the city – and it worked, because we all had a blast!

For those of you who have never experienced a Field Day (or who are too old to remember!), it’s basically a giant party to celebrate the end of the school year. My team and I brought about 85 coworkers along for the ride and we had a popcorn maker, cotton candy machine, huge grill serving up hot dogs and hamburgers, an obstacle course, basketball hoops, sack racing, (fake) tattooing station and even a station where you could throw a pie in someone’s face. Needless to say, the kids (aged pre-K through 8th grade) had a pretty great time. It was warm and sunny but that’s better than cold and rainy so we were smiling through our sweat! We even had the head of our department come out with his wife and they spent a good few hours simply picking up trash and helping with the behind-the-scenes logistics. And of course, they played with the kids too!

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Not our kids but we did use that exact obstacle course set!

This school would not have been able to afford to put on such a Field Day without our help and I feel so grateful to work for a company that does more than just lip service when it comes to giving back to the community. We even donated all of the toys and games we bought so they could use them next year! Unfortunately, they don’t get to keep the popcorn and cotton candy machines but who knows – maybe we’ll be back to celebrate the end of another school year with them in 2017!

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