How to Change the World and Have Fun Doing It…

Last week I wrote about the Butterfly Effect and the way one precise intervention in the midst of a large, seemingly insurmountable problem can alter the mechanics of an entrenched system or even the course of an individual lifetime.  This “one small step” thinking is generally how we approach our work at Fedcap. It translates into a way of being we can implement every single day.  I ask myself every morning—what is one thing I can do TODAY that will potentially solve a problem or change a life? Is there something I can DO that will not just raise awareness, but also inspire ACTION?

The work we do is pretty serious. Every day we work to eliminate barriers to economic well-being and we work to promote social justice. Every day we strive to find ways to erode the stigma that is among the greatest barriers for the populations we serve.

While the work we do and the issues we tackle are serious, we also look for ways that are not-so-serious to act on behalf of those whom we serve. For example, Easter Seals sponsors a national fundraising event called “Walk with Me.” In existence since 2003, over 230,000 people have participated in 615 Walk with Me events, generating $41 million dollars to support families at Easter Seals. People walk as individuals—or even more fun—as teams, raising money to help support people like Ryan, whom we got to know through our affiliation with Easter Seals New York. Ryan came to us with a rare genetic condition called Rader-Willi Syndrome, characterized by weak muscles, feeding difficulties and inhibited breathing among other symptoms. He was non-verbal. His was a serious issue. But because of the monies raised by the Easter Seals walk, Ryan was able to work with a speech therapist and one-on-one supports. Today, Ryan is “talking up a storm” and will be entering Kindergarten this fall—all because of the good work of Easter Seals, possible because of monies raised through Walk with Me. Check out the Walk with Me website at www.walkwithme.org for more information on this truly fun event—the Easter Seals New York event is coming up this weekend on July 30at Flushing Meadow Park in Queens. There’s still time to enter!

The Walk with Me event is just one way to offer truly meaningful—and fun—support to our various populations. In addition, the Fedcap “family” also sponsors golf tournaments throughout the summer and fall to raise awareness and proceeds targeted at specific groups. On August 8th, Fedcap is sponsoring its Third Annual Golf Tournament to support youth transitioning out of foster care. This is a dazzling event—and I am not kidding—the facilities are spectacular, the food is fabulous, and the spirit around the event is festive, fun, and all the people involved feel connected by their own passion to rally around this important—and serious—cause.  In the three years since its inception, the Golf Tournament has been responsible for helping youth who might not have successfully transitioned out of care into High Impact Internships in diverse places such as Columbia University, J.P. Morgan Chase, the Museum of Modern Art, The New York City Office of the Medical Examiner, and the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy. What could be better than supporting a cause you care about, joining friends, enjoying a gorgeous venue, and having fun doing it all? Check out the venue on our website: www.fedcap.org.

Our family of affiliates sponsors events throughout August and September. Easter Seals NY is sponsoring a golf tournament in Rochester on August 29th to raise money and awareness for those with autism. On September 12th, our Boston affiliate, Community Work Services, is sponsoring an event to help build their commercial cleaning and streetscapes programs to help create employment for those with barriers. On September 15th, Easter Seals NY will be sponsoring an event on Long Island, specifically targeted at supporting veterans who are struggling to find employment after their return from military service.

All of these events are open to the public. And while I love to meet new folks who join us, one of the things I love best about our events is that they are also a way for our staff to gather outside of work, to get to know each other as people and friends, and to share and show the passion for the work they do in ways other than their daily duties. I love these events—I love seeing the people I work with having fun, embodying their passion for the work we do through action and through doing and having fun doing it. These events are one way I can answer that question I ask myself every day: what is one thing I can DO today that can transform a life?

Yes, a single day of golf can transform lives. A walk among friends can alter the course of a generation. You can have fun and still do the serious work of creating possibilities in people’s lives. I hope to see you at one of our events. It’s guaranteed to be fun!

What is the population or issue that you most care about? What problems are you trying to solve?  What is a way that you can support it—and have fun doing it?

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