Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Power of ONE

Recently, Erika Ji, Jess Brooks and some very driven and talented Key Club members at our high school launched a fundraising campaign for the organization One Dollar for Life. This is a nonprofit specifically designed to give teenagers an outlet for giving, by making hundreds of small donations in their schools. Where most charitable organizations focus on large gifts to maximize efficiency, “ODFL” has targeted this population of young donors to give just one dollar at a time. Their website, www.odfl.org, lists such accomplishments as these among others:
• “Bought 2 milk cows for an orphanage in Kenya in Spring 2008”

• “Collected and sent 452 bikes to Africa in Spring 2008”
• “Constructed a new 3 room school in Nepal in Summer 2008”

Last week I noticed that most classrooms at the school now boast a small cardboard box with the ODFL logo to remind students that they each have the power to make a difference by contributing just ONE DOLLAR toward these worthy projects. I hope some will choose to contribute more; but if each and every student were to follow through with this request, over $1800 dollars could be raised in ONE MONTH very little sacrifice. The Salvation Army is another charity that relies on our small donations. During the last two holiday season’s I decided I would give a dollar each time I passed the kettle. I estimate the total spent was about twenty dollars; what would happen if everyone gave a little each time? That is the synergistic power of one: the combined total effort is greater than the sum of all parts. The power of one can accomplish good works in the world community.

The value of one also translates to incredible contributions of time. Working in a school environment, I have learned the value of ONE MINUTE: a thank-you email, a helpful post-it reminder to a colleague, a phone message picked up even though I feel too busy. When put into perspective, the good that I have witnessed our dozens of volunteers accomplish in ONE HOUR is far-reaching: copies made and distributed for a teacher, the secretary’s desk manned while she takes a lunch break, books organized and re-shelved at the library. Children, teenagers, and adults can all adopt this concept of one-hour volunteering. How much good can come of consistent charitable service for one hour, ONCE A WEEK for ONE YEAR? Fifty-two hours of positive energy is bound to have a lasting effect somewhere.

Another observation on this tiny little number is the sharing of ONE IDEA, an effort that takes minimal time and exertion. Plant a seed and someone with the necessary resources is bound to latch on. My friend Carolyn shared such an idea as we planned a collaborative humanitarian project with our church group last fall. Many years ago, she had worked on a team to produce painted canvas wall hangings for orphanages in under-devoloped countries. Another member of our group, Megan, was deeply touched by this concept and quickly took the reins. Not only did she design and execute the completion of five brightly painted and quilted wall hangings at our event; she has continued to work on ten more with friends and neighbors in her home over the last several months. She even brought them to the high school, where the Youth Community Service club joined her for a fun afternoon of painting these whimsical works of art.

If Carolyn hadn’t shared this ONE IDEA last fall, we would have all missed out on a chance to make a difference for children who have so little. If the school volunteers were not able to spare ONE HOUR during their week to help teachers and staff, we would never understand the caring and support that exists in our community. And if the students were unable to spare ONE DOLLAR to help the international causes sponsored by organizations such as One Dollar for Life, we would never fully comprehend the impact of our collective efforts. If we desire to leave the world a better place, we must never underestimate the power of
one in our daily lives.

Interested in running a fundraising campaign in your school?
Check out this link for humanitarian projects at One Dollar for Life: http://www.odfl.org/

No comments: