For dear readers of my blog, you will know that I am spending this year, and many more to come, giving back.
Whether in a professional capacity, collaborating on all things people stuff, or directly for charity and causes close to my heart. Pay it forward is an incredibly important thing for me to do. People have done this for me over the years and I am now very thankful to be in a position to be able to do the same.
What is pay it forward?
Pay it forward is an expression for describing the beneficiary of a good deed by repaying it to others instead of to the original benefactor. The concept is old, but the phrase may have been coined by Lily Hardy Hammond in her 1916 book In the Garden of Delight.
So what am I doing?
- Random Acts of Kindness towards people I know and those I don’t.
- Supporting organisations with my professional skills FOC. Especially those who do not have a budget, or the people, to do some key people stuff themselves.
- Helping charities with some admin and supporting documentation.
- Volunteering in Uganda, with 11 other People Professionals under the hashtag #ConnectingHRAfrica, for 8 days to help street kids have a chance in life.
- Coaching people who are unemployed to help them prepare for interviews.
- Fundraising for two charities that I connect with emotionally. Retrak and Team Margot.
So what else? A question I am asking myself often. Ideas and inspiration welcome.
Why am I doing this?
For Team Margot, this is why.
I have registered. Will you?
I have blogged a lot recently, especially about my career and my reasons for applying to go to Uganda with Retrak and help street kids. You can read more about that here and here. If it wasn’t for people paying it forward to me, I’m not sure I would be have the life I have now.
Going to Uganda is going to be a very emotional experience. That is a certainty.
Retrak reaches out to the children who have been forgotten by their communities, children who have no one else to turn to.
Their work and research provides a beginning-to-end approach for street children and the wider-community, that improves their lives. I will be supporting these amazing children, and their support workers, as they reintegrate back into their families and communities…back to being children again.
During our time with Retrak in Uganda, we will see their work in action and get involved where we can:
Outreach services – enable staff to meet street children and offer them support at Retrak’s centres.
Shelter – Safe overnight shelter for street children where they are free from abuse and exploitation.
Counselling – For children who have suffered trauma and for families who need support.
Medical Services – Medical care, HIV voluntary testing and counselling and health and hygiene lessons.
Education – vocational and business training for street children.
Prevention – Building resilience to protect vulnerable children, families and communities.
Reintegration Services – Reintegrating children with their families or a foster family.
Follow up support – for children and family members.
Child protection – education for families, communities and local public services, like police and teachers.
The impact of Retrak on the children is immense.
I have many questions about #ConnectingHRAfrica. Some include:
- How, specifically, will I be able to make a sustainable difference in Uganda?
- Which of my skills will be most useful? Do I have the right skills?
- How am I going to manage my emotions?
- What if I’m not able to manage my emotions?
- What if some children don’t want to be helped?
- What can I do when I get back to keep the support alive?
From a fundraising perspective, I’ve never done anything like this before. Where to start? The first month has been amazing. £1,1755.00 raised so far. Awesome! It would not have been possible without the generosity of friends, family, social media and local companies. THANK YOU to the following people:
Jo Smith, Jacqui Price, Paula and Daz Reilly, Babeta Schneiderova, Ben Evans and Max, Annette Hill, Karen Wilson, Sue Medlock, Yaser Martini, Janice Keyes, Mark, Mum, Dad and Kyle Hewitson, Mary Millar, Anonymous (I know), Dawn Smedley, Paul Walsh, Ade McIlvar, Karin Selter, Gem Reucroft, Scott and Kate Keene, Tim Scott, Damiana Casile, Thurid, Gina, Toe 2 Toe Boxing Academy, ITK Recruitment, Thread Arrows, Hyland Landscapes and Michelin Starred Chef Simon Hulstone who is the most awesome owner of The Elephant Restaurant in Torquay and has donated a fabulous experience including food, wine, signed menu and a kitchen tour for me to auction off.
- What can I do to get the message out there and continue to raise awareness?
- How can I raise these much needed funds that I have committed to? I need to raise £2k but no, not me. I’ve guaranteed to raise £4k and I have 61 days to do it in. Always taking the goal and looking to smash it. Some things never change.
- How do I go about attracting corporate sponsors to support these great causes?
I have a morbid fear of heights and flying. So I’ve signed up to do a 10,000ft skydive with Go Skydive . On 30th July, Live Your Life Day, I will be launched out of a plane. There is one certainty, everyone lands…
I have never had any motivation for exercise. Having the cartilage out of both knees and my shoulder make exercise bloody painful. So I’ve signed up to do a 10k crazy obstacle race.
I don’t like asking people for anything, especially support. I’m a proud, independent person, who likes to solve things for myself. So I’ve asked everyone I know, begged for donations and items that the children reall need or would be overjoyed to receive. I’ve contacted CEO’s of companies, asked my Industry’s top awarding body and trade voice, sent emails and made calls to journalists for every newspaper and magazine that I could think of, contacted people I seriously look up to on Twitter asking for support, grown a pair and asked my professional body and all of the respected people based journals, magazines and online forums to support me, however they feel they can.
So, what have I learned about myself, so far?
It matters not how small an act of kindness, it will bring happiness to another person. Do it!
We all have our own challenges to deal with in everyday life. Someone out there will be able to learn from yours and be a better person for it.
You can do anything you put your mind to. A CAN-DO mindset versus a mood hoovering, energy zapping CAN’T-DOer makes such a difference to your inner strength, well-being, confidence and resilience. The only barrier you have is you.
I’ve spent many years “doing stuff” to accelerate my career. To be the best I can be. I have been surrounded by kind and generous people who have guided, listened, counselled, coached and supported. Without them, who knows where I would be.
It’s time to pay that forward.
If you would like to support me,I would be delighted.. You can make a corporate donation in return for public displays of affection (and the wearing of your branding on my clothing), donate by clicking through to my Virgin Money Giving Page here or via text (technology is a wonderful thing) by replicating the message below
Thank you X