Thursday, March 16, 2006

How do you get involved?

I just wrote this on a thread on one of the AP boards that I frequent and felt it deserved to be here as well.

I've been doing a lot of small things - they may not be on the scale of attending major protests, but I am a firm beleiver in the ripple effect - one small action can influence a lot of people. Aside from just trying to make my own world a better place and modeling behavior for my son, here are a few of the things I've done and do.

- I participated in a bin drive for Katrina refugees coming to Philly. I made up two bins - one for a woman and one for a small boy. This was one of the first times I ever did something like this and it was intensely personal for me. I made the bin up for a plus-sized woman, knowing how I as a heavier woman would feel if there was nothing available for me. I went the extra mile to purchase items that would make me feel better if I was in that situation.

- I don't purchase clothing that has crocheted trim on it. It may sound like splitting hairs, but crochet cannot be done by machine and I know how much work goes into making something and there's no way the person who made it got a living wage for his/her work.

- I boycot anything overtly made by Nestle. I don't buy many brand-name products to begin with so I'm probably doing the full boycot anyway.

- I do a lot of charitable sewing. I just finished several knitted teddy bears that are going to an orphanage in Jamaica. I've been giving them lots of hugs so they can spread some love to children who really need it. I'm also organizing the making of some blankets for Project Linus. In the next few months my knitting club will be making hats for cancer pateints as well. I love the feeling of making something that will bring some joy and comfort to someone who really needs it.

- This past Christmas I donated books to the Starlight Starbright foundation drive in lieu of presents for some of my friends. I figured that a child would benefit a lot more from my gift than they would from another $10 chotchke (?sp).

- I don't shop at Walmart and support local businesses when I can.

I plan to make donating time and/or money/gifts a regular part of our daily life so my son can grow up knowing that even something as small as a donated book can make a world of difference to someone else and that Christmas isn't the only time of year to think about those who are in need.

While most of these don't have much effect on the international level, I do keep abreast of current affairs as much as possible from less biased sources (NPR and BBC) so that I know what is going on in the world. I also vote in every election and take the time to research the candidates as opposed to just voting on party lines. I have written a few letters to my congressmen and senators on issues that I want my voice heard on. Even though it would be hardship with finding childcare, I also look forward to the next time I am called for jury duty so I can let my voice be heard there as well. I feel that one of the best ways to influence the system is to be a part of it - apathy doesn't accompish anything.

I feel there is alot that you can do that make a lot more of an impact than being another head at a protest.

It took up all of the writing time I had tonight so nothing dedicated for the blog. There is much to write about, but it's after midnight and I have to ravish my husband before the boy wakes up again - OK, who am I kidding? I have to finish my glass of wine, crawl into bed, be at the exact moment of falling asleep and then drag my ass, blankets, and pillows into the boy's room to sleep on the air matress on the floor next to his crib.

Ah well, such is life.