♦Welcome to another edition of the Open Book Blog Hop!♦
What have you done to make the world a better place?
Welcome back to another edition of the Open Book Blog Hop! If you’re new to the series, the authors included are grateful for your reads and appreciate, even more so, when you share our writings with your friends. If you’re new to the series, welcome aboard. The authors engage and impress weekly. Be prepared to become a regular reader.
Some people think the things that you do day to day should be measured, and even weighed against the activities of others. I’m not an advocate for blasting the airwaves with what you do, unless it’s your hustle (job). For instance, I see no problem with promoting one’s writing (not the buy my book barrages), but constantly advertising the volunteerism and activities related to it quickly becomes about the ego. The difference is that writers write for a living, and no one is going to tell the world about your products unless you do. Volunteering in the soup kitchen, or doing group work, should remain with the kitchen and the group. The buddhist teaching of humility embodies the basis of my reasoning on that. One should do it because it is necessary and needed, not because it makes one feel good or that it gains one praise. That’s just how I’ve acted in life always.
That said, since it is the question on the blog, I will talk a little about the things I have done.
Since my youth I have been an avid dog person. Most of the dogs that came into the house were foundlings, although one was a purebred. When I got out on my own, I was looking for a pooch of my own and purchased him from a breeder. He had many problems, but lived 13 years and taught me many things about life and love, and even parenting. Recalling him makes my heart grateful, despite the fact that I was certain I would just feel relief. He had special needs, and it was difficult. I learned better training and I learned better patience. I also learned that I wanted to adopt not shop. Someday, I hope to rescue great danes. They’re my favorite breed. For now, I have been rescuing golden labs. I have my second spoiled baby, who stars in the YouTube series Shagbottom Theater, which is meant to spread awareness about the joys of adopting a dog. This has been a life long passion of mine, and I’m finally able to make my niche of dog rescue a reality.
In addition to this I have been interested in social justice and environmentalism. When I was in high school, I was in Earth Club and Service Club. In the latter I had become vice president, while I vaguely remember I had been secretary or something in EC. It’s been so long, I can’t even recall. From high school, I entered into college hoping to get a biology degree, but found myself struggling with calculus. I had already started writing in high school but thought it might be a hobby instead of a focus. Yet, here I am twenty-something later. My studies leaned into feminism and cultural studies, especially historical studies and civil rights. Because I worked part time to get through school, there wasn’t much time for activism, so mine was limited to discussions in class, reading up, and voting smartly. My parents raised me with a strong sense of justice, and a need to do the right thing, and make a difference.
Out of college, I was on a long meandering road of jobs that paid the bills, but remained unsatisfactory to my need for working for the greater good. My writing reflected social justice topics, and I continued to stay abreast of current events and do what I could to help. Not making a lot of money, and my time chewed up in work and commutes, I was floundering looking for a way to make a difference. Here and there, my opportunity to help would arise, usually in the facet of helping friends unlock their potentials and find their paths. All the things I seemed incapable of doing for myself. But this changed when I began work for Empire State College, where I also obtained my Master’s.
Seven or so years in student services gave me an outlet for helping, at last. I assisted disabled students with getting accessible materials for their courses, and I helped hundreds of students navigate the services we offered to keep them on track. I was integral in delivering a wellness retreat to both alumni and current students, as well as governance of the college. I was present for the creation of a support staff arm of governance that a colleague fought hard for, and leant my voice to assure it’s addition to the bodies established.
When it came time to do my graduate work, I naturally continued with social justice and my historical, political focus. It was a pure joy to study for three years, and there is proof of that in the existence of my trilogy. So exciting was the work, it inspired me to pen more books. Prior to this, I had let much of what I had intended with my work to languish.
As a student, I never lost my hat as employee. My hard work was rewarded with a fellowship in social justice and the arts, which helped pay for tuition through my final year. The award was made for my efforts via my books, and my studies. Because of this, I gained a position soon after that launched me into working directly for the most vulnerable populations of my state. Through this work, I affect the work that is done for those in need of assistance to find shelter and work, and a way out of poverty. Assisting with training for workers who will provide services to victims of domestic violence is the best aspect of that job. It literally saves lives. It changes lives. The sense that what one does matters is unquestionable.
My mother grew up in deep poverty, a witness to DV. Although she was not afforded every opportunity that was available to her, because individuals charged with the duty to share that information failed to do so, she rose above. Mom is a hero in my book. Through her, I have seen the damage done by the trauma of poverty, and she has taught me to not just be respectful, but to be of good use to others in need.
Where I end up next, I couldn’t tell you. I hope that my trajectory continues on a similar path, always giving back to my community, and really helping people. Hopefully my books will open doors to greater opportunities to do this important work.
Let’s hop on over and see what the other authors have done…