Help Yourself

26 09 2008

Maria and I have really felt called lately to get more involved with helping the homeless.  We decided to hook up with Good Works in Athens, Ohio. In their own words Good Works is:

“A community of hope for those struggling with poverty in rural Appalachia. We provide biblical hospitality through The Timothy House (our shelter for the rural homeless), The Hannah House (our long term residential care-community), job experience programs, creative volunteer service opportunities and community development ministries in the context of Christian Community.”

Last Friday, Maria and I took a tour of their grounds and got a brief overview of what they do.  I was amazed at all the programs they have and how they are able to do so much with so little.  However what really impressed me was their philosophy and approach to how they serve.  The very people they serve are the ones who maintain the GW mission.  For instance, GW has car donation program.  If a person wants to recieve a car from GW, they need to earn 24 points.  You earn points by spending an afternoon maintaining the grounds, serving at one of the houses or working one of the many other programs they have.  Instead of being a place where people can come and find help, they can come and find how they can help themselves.  This is a much less degrading process, and shows the individuals that they can take control and responsibility of their own lives.

The more I thought about this, the more I realized that this is what social media is all about.  Helping people help themselves.  No longer are we dependent on “experts” to explain how things work, we now have the power to discover on our own with the help of other people just like us.  Again, this has become a less degrading process and has encouraged a whole new generation of responsible consumers.


Eyes Open

26 07 2008

It’s amazing what you discover about yourself when you do what you love on a regular basis.  This internship I have right now at the Cleveland Clinic is teaching me so much about not just the major that I am investing tens  of thousands of dollars and 4 years into but also about things that I need to operate in life.

For example, I am quickly becoming a new media junkie.  I want to know about all the latest trends on the internet and what is coming down the pipeline.  Ever since my internship with Bob Evans, I have been intrigued with the power of these new and exciting tools (Shout out to Jamie Chabra, who set me on this path).

However, I’m discovering at the Clinic the usefulness of classic strategies.  Media Relations mixed with strong community and national initiatives are tools that are still very relevant.  In order for me to be the best PR practitioner I can be, I need to be able to grasp and harness the power of both.

This leads me to my epiphany.  The world is an ever changing place.  Everyday new issues arise that matter to people – and not just any people, friends and family.  In this post-modern world we live in, I need to be able to stay up with what’s going on and stay relevant to people’s lives.

At the same time, their are traditional values that I never want to leave behind.  One of the greatest lessons my mother ever taught me was when I was 16 and we went to a Taco Bell for dinner and I didn’t hold the door open for her.  She ripped me a new one.  That was the greatest lesson in chivalry and respect for women that I ever learned.

When I keep my eyes open for these things, I’m able to see so much and with a graduation, a new job and of course, a wedding in the near future, I’m finding more and more everyday.