"As we work to create light for others, we naturally light our own way." - Mary Ann Radmacher
So What Now?
By Molly Yuska, Founder of PGK
My oldest is in sixth grade and this election marked his first real experience studying our democratic process. As I have cringed over the past few weeks at the thought of what opinions he may form or the (mis)understandings he may develop as a result of this tumultuous election being his first real taste of American democracy, I’ve tried to remind myself at many moments that “this too shall pass.”
As many wake up this morning bewildered and unsure of where we go from here, I am trying to remind myself that that is the choice of this great nation. For months, mud-slinging and negativity have nearly overwhelmed many of us. But today I’m seeking solace where it can be found. And in the Dalai Lama’s article that appeared last week in the New York Times, I believe there is reason for hope. He wrote, “Virtually all the world’s major religions teach that diligent work in the service of others is our highest nature and thus lies at the center of a happy life. Scientific surveys and studies confirm shared tenets of our faiths. Americans who prioritize doing good for others are almost twice as likely to say they are very happy about their lives.” He went on to say, “This helps explain why pain and indignation are sweeping through prosperous countries. The problem is not a lack of material riches. It is the growing number of people who feel they are no longer useful, no longer needed, no longer one with their societies.”
While the path forward today may not seem clear, if the Dalai Lama is right, it is at least rather simple. The American people need to remember and return to what made this country great, and different, to begin with: that together, in useful service to one another and our country, we are strong. We may have lost sight of that lately, but everyone’s vision gets foggy sometimes. Let’s rub our eyes, look around, and get back to showing the world and ourselves that diligent work in the service of others is indeed our highest nature.
At PGK, this is at the heart of our mission. If you want to help us achieve it, support PGK before the end of this season of giving and help us create the change in 2017.
Spotlight: Jackie & the Paw Power Pet Jamboree
To fulfill her Bat Mitzvah project, this animal-loving, 11-year old co-founded the Paw Power Pet Jamboree, a 5K race/walk with your pet in Lexington, MA. Now 14, Jackie has organized this completely kid-run event for the past three years, successfully bringing together businesses, vendors, and even a veterinary clinic in support of furry four-legged friends in the Massachusetts area. The most recent race brought in over 100 individual donations, an air-brush t-shirt station, a free pet nail clipping station, dog portraits, homemade ceramic dog bowls, and pets from around the area joined in on the fun.
Jackie started the race due to her love of dogs; she currently has two golden retrievers of her own. She is also passionate about the Northeast Animal Shelter in Salem, MA, where she donates the funds raised from the race. When reflecting on her own volunteer experience at the shelter, Jackie shared that, ‘You see them [the animals] and when they get adopted, it’s the best part. Sometimes it’s too quickly though and you miss them, but you get to see the happy families and a good home.”
In a Q and A about the Paw Power Pet Jamboree, Jackie shared some thoughts and advice about her experience organizing this type of event:
Why did you choose to organize a 5K race?
“I wanted to do something and not just ask people for money, but have it be fun and create memories for them, incorporating their pets.”
What is your favorite thing about helping with the race?
“Every part is so much fun and you get to see how nice the businesses are - helping out - the community really comes together and the race has grown every year.”
What does it mean to be a #GivingKID?
"Being a giving kid means that you want to help others and not do it for a reward, but just do it to do it and feel good about it.”
Spotlight: Connecting Kids
Human beings are hard wired for connection. It’s a fact that our minds and bodies thrive when we engage with people and causes that resonate with us. In our most recent blog post, we talked about how technology has revolutionized the way we think about social relationships and connections, and how PGK is a unique example of the use of technology to make connections that cultivate the greater good.
And when these connections are made, there is something magical that happens. An example:
Over the summer we have been promoting a #SummerKindnessChallenge. At our house in Florida, and at the homes of several others near Boston, we kicked off the summer by making Jared Boxes for children facing life-limiting illnesses at Good Shepherd Community Care in Newton, MA. As we were bringing the Jared Box Project on as a PGK partner, they shared with us a request they had just gotten for Jared Boxes from Good Shepherd. Since this was in the backyard of one of our PGK cities, we had to activate our network, and the 40 boxes they needed got made by 10 different families in a matter of days.
At our house, the boxes were a fun start to the summer with friends, accompanied by a pool party and pizza. Our nine-year-old did a PowerPoint introducing the Jared Box Project and Good Shepherd; he learned a lot in the making, and his friends, a bit in the sharing too. Equally fun and rewarding was sharing back with them the feedback from the child life specialist who had started distributing the boxes to her patients:
“These boxes have been awesome and full of such great stuff for my patients. I brought one to a pediatric hospice patient and his best friend last week. We couldn’t even get on to our craft project because they were having so much fun playing with the fidgets in the box. It was really just awesome!”
Not sure who got more from this exchange, the kids on the receiving end or us. But then again, it doesn’t really matter. Something magical happens when we make connections that lead to action touching more than just our own. We all win...and then some.