Monday, April 30, 2012

Where the Road Leads

It's seems I have struggled for a long time to try and find the perfect opportunity to volunteer. I researched and read trying to find the one that tapped into a central core or nerve. Then the economy spiraled downwards and I was working two jobs. No time to think, no time to volunteer. I felt that I was missing something but funny how working until 11pm drains your brain of all coherent thought.

I thought I have to do something, anything. I happened to see on ABC World News at Night and there was Kiva. Micro loans and microfinance to help entrepreneurs all over the world. Something touched nerve so I went over to their website. Wow, a loan as little as $25 could change someone's life. Where do I sign up?

I started looking at loans from Eastern Europe, Africa, South America even the United States. Who could I lend to first? There were bakers, florists, taxi drivers and more. Mothers, fathers, widowers, singles, married Kiva borrowers looking to grow their business and their lives.

Lending is the next logical step but who to lend to? I wanted someone to resonate with me. I wanted their story to leap out to me to say, "Read about me and learn who I am and what I do." Then once I lend, what can I do next? I started translating for Kiva for Russian loans. (with the help of hubby).

Then I came across AustinPetsAlive in Austin and starting doing videos, writing pet bios and then emails blasts and Twitter. I feel the need to do more to challenge myself. I'm reading all I can about social media, interactive, writing and anything creative. It's empowering and scary at once because you think there is more I could learn and I'm not doing enough. I guess it begins one step at a time. Now, I'm Branding Manager at APA overseeing all of our promotional materials and keeping our brand consistent.

This road has taken me some twists and turns but my advice is never to give up until you find the volunteer opportunity that is right for you. It may be just around the corner.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Going Green is Easy

Project 7 is always coming up with something interesting. This week was about how to Be Green ideas that they got from a magazine but still worthwhile. I added my take onto their list below.

1. Farm Fresh – get to know a local farmer - My dad is a farmer and I developed a love of fresh produce. Austin has great farmer's markets and organic grocery delivery with places such as Greenling.
2. Reuse – drink water from a reusable water bottle - Love my Sigg Hello Kitty bottle!
3. Get outside – skip the gym and exercise outdoors - Hard sometimes in Texas but sweating can be a good thing.
4. Unwrap – reuse your Ziplock bags - Unless you've put something like raw meat inside.
5. Go Fish – eat sustainable fish (visit the Blue Ocean Institute for more information) - Got a great Seafood app for my phone that tells me what fish I should buy.
6. Eco-Chic Bag – bring a reusable bag to the supermarket - I will stroll proudly into any Austin grocery store carrying my Texas Tech reusable bag.
7. Go Vegetarian – Eat a meal or two without meat - That's a little hard for me to do but I'll try.
8. Save Power – remember to unplug your electronics - Hubby always remembers to unplug the TV every night.
9. Cut Paper Use – cancel the phone book delivery - Who uses a paper phone book anymore?
10. Go Digital – sign up for online banking and stop receiving paper statements - Done!

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Plight of the Koala Down Under

There are so many nonprofits out there to give our time and money to, how do you find one that calls to you? I found one recently that shouted to me, "Come help, do something!" My husband sent me a CNN article that described Australia's government was delaying the vote for 10 weeks on whether to add koalas to the endangered list. I lived in Australia and have traveled there several times and saw only one koala in the wild. The rest I saw in zoos. I thought that sounds a bit crazy that koalas are in trouble. I started digging deeper and turns out they are.