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Friday, August 15, 2014

I try to be humble because I believe with every bit of myself that having a strong sense of humility and personal reserve is a very important character trait.  This is why the blogs I have written in the past are careful not to mention that anyone should ever take anything I do as a "lead by example" situation and that nobody should strive to be like me.  The only thing I ask of anyone is to be who they really are and instead strive to grow in their own time without passing up important opportunities.

The "Ice Bucket Challenge" went somewhat viral a few months ago and for some reason has made a massive resurgence with people calling out their friends and family members to do the same thing.  By doing the challenge, they are "raising awareness" to their social media following about Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).  When this challenge first crept up, I thought it was a neat idea, and I did end up researching it a bit. I, like most others, did not make a donation. 

Currently, the challenge has become a trend, which is dangerous to the message and purpose.  I have an extremely close friend who's dad suffered with ALS and has since passed away.  ALS was a very real part of her life for many years and she actually experienced it firsthand.  
This is a status update that she posted on her personal Facebook:

Her words show me the dangers of our "trend culture".  Sure, nobody is getting hurt by any of this, but once an activity becomes trendy, the relevance falls away and the slacktivism runs rampant instead.  At this point and with the exposure through the mass media, we have transitioned from raising awareness about a debilitating illness to causing a social media and televised media circus.  Personally, I feel that the next step is to break the trend and get the focus on research and funding to figure out who actually cares and who is just following the flock.  

"You're being insensitive.  Some people took the challenge AND donated."
I know, and that's great, but it's time to carry the creative mission and think of something to further the cause which doesn't involved dumping water on yourself. It has been done and will die off quickly like every other trend (Kony 2012, anyone? Anyone?). Every successful marketing plan has a method of continuing to reach the target demographic after the trend dies off.  With the millions of people in this world who are doing this, some creative mind could come up with a way to keep people interested in the cause, but they don't want to put forth the effort.
They wanted to dump a bucket of ice water on their head and make a video about it.

"Why don't you get out and do something then? Huh?"
Simple.
I'm not passionate about ALS and there is nothing wrong with that. 

The reason I brought up humility first in this blog post is because I hate talking about things which could be misconstrued as arrogance and don't like my charitable actions to be known - that isn't who I am, so I never talk about them.

The first picture in this post is something I wrote down in 2007 and my friend (unknowingly to me) has kept it in her wallet since that day. 
"I want to do what I love, make a lot of money, and give most of it away..."
I told myself back then that if I could ever donate anything to anyone with a purpose that I felt strongly about, I would not hesitate to do so as a personal sacrifice.  If I ever make loads of money in something, I honestly plan to donate most of it to causes I care about.

If I ever have the income to do so:
-I will NOT claim any donations as a tax write-off.
-I will NOT tell the organization where the money came from.
-I will NOT accept any recognition for it.
This is how I personally believe charity should work and is something I hold very dear.

This is where I tell you something I didn't want to tell anyone, and that nobody knew about until I called my friend about an hour ago to ask her if I would sound like an arrogant asshole by bringing it up.  Kristi doesn't think it will, so I'll blame her if I come off as such. ;)

I don't have a lot of money, but I hope to one day for the very reasons I stated above.
If you follow me on social media, this blog, Kinja, or know me personally, I am always tired and always working and writing.  Some people probably think I am not being truthful because I don't seem to promote the things I write online in relation to how much I am supposedly writing.

The thing is, I can't afford to donate enough money to make a difference to any cause, so I am writing for non-profit organizations and charities - lots of them. 
Web articles, physical brochures, blog posts, editing and proofreading, and even checking over one-on-one emails smaller NPOs are sending to those people and organizations from whom they are seeking assistance.
I don't get paid for this and I wouldn't want to.
Someone once told me that I have a gift for writing and an engaging way with words, so I want to give that away as much as I can to help people and organizations I believe in.  I do this with the understanding that nobody will ever know I had a part in it (which is why I am not naming any of these organizations).  But when I see a brochure or read a website with something I edited, tweaked, or wrote within it, I smile and don't mention to anyone.

The last time I talked about hiding something, it was concerning my diagnosis of clinical depression a few years ago.  Today, I said none of this to brag or tell you that what you're doing is wrong and what I am doing is right.  What I am telling you is to make sure you are putting your efforts in the right place and for the right reasons and not just following social trends.

 I will not be dumping a bucket of ice water on my head.

Be you.
Honesty is confidence.
Do what you are passionate about and never let anyone else make those decisions for you.

Grace and Peace,
-Drew
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