Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Good Deed #36: Jobs Paid Forward

During the height of this past Presidential election season, political parties on both sides of the aisles talked about jobs. They spoke about them in such abstract and mythical terms as if they alone held the key to unlock the floodgates to more of them. After following both campaigns very closely, I decided that the time to stop talking about them and actually doing something was now. I went on a search with my friend to find ordinary people who wanted to work and through a little bit of encouragement and assistance along the way, could one day, proudly call themselves employed. The name of our project is Jobs Paid forward.

Our intent is to assist in the job hunting process. Once an individual finds a job, it is up to them to in turn "pay it forward" but providing an additional ladder of opportunity for someone else. Our hope is that this creates a ripple effect in the way in which we treat and serve each other in our communities. It is a simple approach to a real problem.

It's almost ironic that I started this project while I myself am unemployed. It has been such a blessing in that I can truly relate to these people we are trying to help. If anything it has taught me humility and the reinforced my unwavering belief that we are one another's keeper. In this picture is my dear friend Ira. Through our help, he was given a proper eye exam and got glasses. We hope this is but a hurdle that he has jumped so that he may reach his fullest potential. It is not a guarantee of a job, but it surely is a step in the right direction. It is through small acts like this that we hope to prove naysayers wrong and bring about real change in our community here in Raleigh.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Good Deed #35: Flying Scarfs

During my last six months here in Afghanistan I have contemplated the amount of "good" we have done here throughout our military mission. As pessimistic as I am about our efforts, I am hopeful that there are other means of providing security in this country beyond a military presence. From the beginning of my deployment my focus was on thinking about the latter and trying to figure out a way to help the people of this country beyond bombs and bullets.

One of my most proudest achievements to date, is the non-profit organization that I started with seven of my closest friends. The idea for this business is modeled after Muhhamad Yunus and his "Social Business," concept. The purpose of our business is to provide long lasting, sustainable economic development to various villages in Afghanistan by selling handmade artisan scarfs made by the women of Afghanistan on a global market. For all of the things that have gone wrong in this country, I can emphatically point to this project and say that here "we got it right."

If you'd like to learn more please visit FLYING SCARFS.COM

Monday, September 5, 2011

Good Deed #34: Defending Freedom

I don't pretend to act like some war hero. Throughout my time in the military I have done much less than the much braver men and women who wear the uniform. What I do stand for is the cause. I fully understand what it is that we're doing. Tomorrow I will leave for a deployment to Afghanistan. Regardless of your political party preference, you should know that our mission over there is to defend freedom. There are few more worthy causes.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Good Deed #33: Hurricane Irene Relief

Today I assisted the Red Cross in going around and assessing damage in a neighboring county in North Carolina. The director gave us a map, some water, a handshake and parting gesture before sending us off. The post-hurricane Irene assessment that we did will eventually lead to more assistance from FEMA. Before they will come out though, they need to have accurate and reliable data that will trigger their response. As we drove around looking at all of the damaged homes, I thought back to Katrina and the devastation that I remembered when I went to volunteer back in 2005 in Biloxi, Mississippi. Another storm, more destruction. Help if you can!

Good Deed #32: Friendship

The last post I made on here was dedicated to the mentorship that I gave to my former littler brother Noah. A week ago when I was home visiting family, I took the time to spend part of the day with him and catch up. Surprisingly, he now lives in my hometown of Laconia. I was amazed at how grown up he has become. Indeed, he has had to grow up a lot faster than most boys his age. When I saw him this last time though, I didn't just see him as my "little," I looked at a person who was not quite my peer but most certainly my friend. As we transition into this new stage of our relationship, I know that he'll probably always look up to me just as I'll always be proud of him. But there is a deeper connection there and it entails a mutual respect for each other. Like brothers and friends.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Good Deed #31: Mentor

We can't always choose our mentors. Sometimes I find that the best ones are those who don't necessarily identify themselves but come into your life in such a manner that you learn years later their true impact. Four years ago I chose to become a mentor, not because I thought I would be good at it, but because I knew that I owed it to my previous mentors to pass along the knowledge that they had given me. Mentorship is an underrated asset that few get the true benefit from. The two years that I was with Big Brothers and Big Sisters, were arguably my best growth years in that I learned a lot about myself and those around me. When my friend Jill (and mentor in her own right) asked me to donate to her annual fundraiser this year, I couldn't resist. There are many times when I am asked to give money to certain charities. I especially enjoy giving to organizations that I know first hand have great impacts on the lives of others. Big Brothers and Big Sisters is one of those organizations. If you ever get a chance to become a it! It'll change your life.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Good Deed #30: Helping Friends

I don't claim to know a lot about MS. Prior to my friend Jarrod asking me to donate towards his walk to help find a cure for MS, I never really thought twice about others not being able to walk. After a great bike and workout today at the gym and then coming home to walk my dog, I realized that I am so fortunate to be able to do the things I want and not be restricted. I've been able to make a lot of money and what good does it do by sitting in my bank account? What good is money when you can't use it to help others? Maybe you will help join the fight too. Cure MS!