After having redone this page yesterday, in an attempt to make my ideas more clear, I have noticed an uptick in the traffic. I believe that is clearly the result of networking with another blogger, TheBlackSentinel (you can find her page here— http://theblacksentinel.wordpress.com — a link is also provided in our blogroll in the right sidebar), who routinely addresses racial issues in our country.
Well, last night as I was doing the dishes with my wife, a knock at our door gave me momentary respite from the mundane chores (albeit my wife left me the dishes to be dried and put away!). I opened the door to find a young black standing there with a clipboard. At first I assumed this was another round of magazine sales people that routinely hit our neighborhood. He introduced himself and let me know that he was working with Urban Horizons. Urban Horizons is a small organization that works with innercity youth, providing tutoring and other programs to help these young people to succeed, and to avoid the gangs and streetlife that can easily suck misdirected youth into a tailspin to mediocrity.
Now, as written in a previouws post, the services Urban Horizons provides are a small part of what we here at Creative Community Renewal intend to provide. However, not being established yet, I believe that this other organization is the only one of its kind currently operating in the Des Moines, IA area. I found myself in a bit of a mental conundrum.
A little background, first. I have recently had my hours cut back, along with a pay freeze at my current security job. My wife had been semi-promoted in the latter half of last year at her job. Her company had been taken over by a larger company, and they instituted a pay freeze. And then just yesterday we learned that, in spite of my wife’s company being almost the sole reason the larger company posted a profit, that they would be taking paycuts as well (hers was only 2.5% paycut). So I was now losing a few hundred dollars a paycheck myself, but now my wife is losing some money on top of all that. Like most everyone I know, we have all had to tighten our belt. I’m stuck trying to pay the same bills and ever rising costs on less money, as well as save money up so that my family can experience any form of quality of life, and also to set aside money to start this experiment I call Creative Community Renewal.
But then, here’s this kid standing in front of me, wanting a contribution to go toward a worthy cause, that expressly addresses the same concerns I have. My conundrum only lasted a few seconds, and I doubt the kid ever saw the flash in my eyes as I mulled things over. He was asking for $36 as the low amount (just $3 a month), or for some little bonus prize incentive, if I could give up to $4 a month equivalent of $48.
Apparently me picking up my checkbook and writing on it hadn’t convinced him that he had convinced me. Afterall, I’m just a white suburban guy, and why should I care? I’m almost sure that was the thought going through his head. I think he’s knew at this volunteer money drive thing, as he seemed pretty unsteady about himself. But When he left, he left with a $48 check in his hands towards his program.
I realized, that while I may not be flush with money at this point in my life, and that eventually I expect to contribute more to my own program than this one, I can’t exactly stand on my principles and morals, and then turn down a kid who’s trying to raise money for the same purpose. I had to get past the normal feeling of greed on a couple levels, and see the bigger picture of whats going on in our world, and where the help is needed. And while I’ll take all the help I can get, I realized it was kids like that young man who need the cash a bit more to help provide himself and others like him a few more opportunities that might not otherwise be available to him.