One of the most rewarding aspects of being part of Givology is that I get inspired every day – from our partners, our network, our volunteers, and our supporters. When we brought on the Kakenya Center for Excellence and Kabultec as our partners, I found out that both organizations were connected to an extraordinary woman who has worked fastidiously behind the scenes to raise awareness and funding for these great grassroots causes. It’s my pleasure to share her story and philosophy of giving, an example of how an individual can make a global difference from their local community.
Even though Annette works full-time as a photo editor, she has dedicated a tremendous amount of time and effort to volunteering. Through her Unitarian church congregation, Annette has forged personal connections that have motivated her to give. After hearing Nasrine’s inspiring personal story and learning about Kabultec’s positive impact in promoting literacy in Afghanistan, Annette decided to join the organizing committee. When the head of the committee retired, she took charge of the event.
When Kakenya came to her church for a forum, Annette fell immediately for the cause and got involved early-on with the design and formation of the school. As a board member, she takes a hands-on approach to helping the school, finding the experience “rewarding because I know I am helping the girls indirectly”.
For Annette, it’s not only about the personal gratification she finds in volunteering, but rather, imparting her philosophy of giving to young people in hopes of inspiring action. Each week, she teaches seventh graders at her church on the importance of awareness of the world around them. Over the years, her class has held a campaign for Darfur, and raised thousands of dollars for clothing and school fees for the children of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Entrepreneurially-minded and focused on sustainable fundraising, Annette has engaged with Paper to Pearls to sell paper beaded jewelry made by women in Uganda to garner further financial support.
Her advice to those interested in volunteering? She absolutely believes that an individual can make a difference. She doesn’t subscribe to the “think globally, act locally” cliché – in fact, if everyone acted this way, so many people would be left out in the rest of the world. Opportunities abound, but most importantly, they start with finding a personal connection that inspires action – one individual, one connection at a time.
After all, for Annette, giving is about forging a personal connection with the people behind the cause, creating a compelling desire to share that connection with the world!
Annette with Kakenya:
Pictures of the Girls at the Kakenya Center for Excellence in Kenya:
Annette with Nasrine:
Kabultec's Literacy Programs in Afghanistan:
Joyce Meng's Blog
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