Not Really a Side Job

I’ll be honest.

Having a nonprofit “on the side” is overwhelming at times.

Nothing about it is really “on the side” except not getting paid or having real time set out every day to reach our goals. The calls, the need – it’s always there. My mind is constantly spinning around the truths I hear out of the mouths of victims or their loved ones.

I listen to books on the way to my day job about this world. I listen to how Chanel Miller, like me, spent years waiting for healing to begin because she was too busy being victimized again by the judicial system to focus on the real truths – especially that it wasn’t her fault.

I take quick breaks in the middle of my day to walk around the block and listen through the phone of someone so fed up with the cases of sexual assault or sex trafficking and feeling like they can’t DO enough to help. From there I reach out to friends I’ve made in this journey so far – each trying to make their own impact on this world. One person, one organization cannot possibly fix all of this. It takes us all. It takes you too.

Sometimes, in all honesty, I give myself a day to be anything but productive. At times it feels like no matter how much I promote a fundraising event, or try to use my resources to help someone I’ve never met and likely never will… sometimes it doesn’t feel like enough. Living in this world for too long without coming out for fresh air – it can be discouraging. For me, being a survivor, it can be triggering. I have to remind myself of the crazy GOOD parts of life too. Not just the crazy bad.

So on days like today, when I’m productive, but not able to completely save the day – I pray. I write. I hope that someone on the world wide web will read these words and feel challenged to join this fight.

On other days, like every single day last week – I walk with a pep in my step because FINALLY we helped TWO schools get quality curriculum in their schools. Since we had the money and the resources, we happily took a vote at our board meeting to FUND these needs at 100%. We said YES because so many others came to run in a color run when it was 60 degrees and pouring rain, because of a birthday fundraiser on Facebook, because you read my story and felt led to donate $50, because as a vendor you support our organization while we help you grow your business. Bottom line – because of you – students in two different schools will learn how to keep themselves safe. That their body is THEIR body and no one gets to control them, no matter how trusting or powerful they seem.

This work is important. The need is constant and it’s speeding up while initiatives that have been doing the same thing, the same way, for years and years are still not making a dent. We have to be different. We have to be real and vulnerable and stubborn. We have to stop saying “it’s the way it’s always been” and start saying “this stops now”.

I encourage you to be involved in any way you can. If you don’t know what you can do to help, I will certainly be happy to let you know. Maybe it isn’t this organization that pulls at your heart strings or maybe it’s exactly where you need to be. Either way I hope you find yourself passionate about something and go after it in the way God leads you to be. Even on the really crummy days, this is still the best work I will do because I know its vital for future generations.

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