Following Hurricane Harvey, I was really touched by what I saw my friends in Houston doing to make a difference in the lives of their fellow citizens. One example was Carol Beth Ivory, Beta Epsilon, Louisana Tech University, and her daughter Ella going out daily to deliver food and supplies to their neighbors who experienced the flood and aftereffects. Another was Sara Wray, Theta Tau, Kansas State University, and her husband shopping in the baby section at the only Target they found open so they could deliver diapers, wipes and formula to others in need. I firmly believe we live to make an impact on each other. These sisters really showed that.
This all coincided with a former student and friend of mine hosting a “You Make a Difference” month. The goal is to let people know, through daily notes, that you love and appreciate what they put out into the world. I’ll admit I haven’t been able to get a note out each day. However, I have been inspired to get more snail mail out to friends letting them know how much I appreciate their contributions, both in my life and in the world.
It all prompted me to ask the sisters I’m friends with on Facebook how they make a difference for others. I loved hearing how our sisters create change and foster love in their small part of the world. Some of the best small-but-powerful gestures I heard about were:
- “I do not have a lot of spare energy, time or cash at the end of a day, so I just try to keep an eye out for those around me who might need help that I can give. Nearly every grocery trip I’m getting stuff off of the shelf for older or shorter people. We both have a smile, and have a few moments of happiness and keep going.” —Wren Mills, Epsilon Zeta, Western Kentucky University
- “I hope I go above and beyond for the students with special needs I work with to advocate for them and their families so they can live Full and productive lives.” —Moira Bushell, Theta, University of Illinois
- “What I hated most about my [prior] job was the lack of making a difference. I mean, how is selling people clothes really making a difference? But I survived by making my staff important as people, not just employees, but people. Professionally coaching them or developing them, and personally caring about their lives.” —Kathi Szabo, Gamma Kappa, Southern Illinois University
- “I help run a fully volunteer-based cat shelter. We don’t have a physical structure, so we’re totally reliant on volunteers to foster all our cats. Many are feral, old, injured, sick, surrendered and not deemed adoptable by other area shelters. We don’t turn away any animals regardless of situation… But really, I think that work here has made at least as much a difference in me as the difference I’ve made.” —Jackie LeRoy, Beta Eta, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
- “After months of classes, paperwork and home studies, I’m about to be a licensed foster parent!” —Dale Sullivan, Beta Tau, University of Florida
There were a number of other comments outlining how people make a difference in lives professionally and personally. In reading through them all, I was a little overwhelmed by the good work being done by our sisters. It also helped me to reflect on how I can do better to make a difference locally and globally. My time is so limited right now, I know I need to focus on small things that can make a difference. One of the ways I am trying to make a difference is being socially and politically engaged in my community. I’ve attended a few local events aimed at creating community and fostering an appreciation for our diversity. I have also been more active at calling my representatives on a state and national level. My next goal is to find a local organization that might fit my desire to volunteer with my limited time available!
How are you making a difference in your community? I’d love to hear about it!