My (Carrie) story of giving began in the 1990s, when I was a high school senior. I was a candy striper at a local hospital and a basketball and softball coach at the local boys and girls club. When I was in my early 20s I decided to be a big sister. As I watched my “little sister” grow to become an amazing young woman, I realized that life is more than just personal growth and success. For me, life is about making my time mean something to someone other than myself.
When I was 34 years old, I signed up to be a co-mentor in a program that matches former foster youth with professionals. The time I spent with those young men and women changed my life forever because 2 years later I adopted my son. We were both co-mentors in the program, him being the former foster youth and me the professional. I joined the program to learn how to be a great single mother to those who are “stuck” in the system. As for him, he was just learning how to be a responsible adult. Little did we know, we were destined to be a family. He is now a full-time employee and working on his life plans to also make a positive impact on the lives of others.
In 2014 I started a nonprofit, Carry Me Productions (CMP). Most people think the name is a play off my own, but it’s not. Carry is defined as “support and move (someone or something) from one place to another” or to “support the weight of”; therefore, I define “Carry Me Productions” as “to produce results that carry people forward in life.” CMP started as a film production nonprofit. I wanted to provide this service to nonprofits who had a strong mission yet didn’t have the funding in their overhead costs to help with video productions. I wanted to help nonprofits be carried to bigger audiences so their messages could be seen and heard.
As I went out to do videos for other nonprofits, the majority of the nonprofits targeted “helping” the homeless, but in reality people were enabled to stay still or were being threatened if they did not follow orders. This is not what CMP stands for, so I stopped. I also noticed some nonprofits would preach compassion but didn’t practice “to be compassionate”. They only understood the word by its definition: “To have compassion is to have concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.”
To be compassionate is to act on the concern one feels for the suffering of another living thing.
As you read stories from other people and wonder “how can I do something to make the world a better place?” remember this acronym LOVE (let our voices empower).
Don’t think of changing the world, but changing the minds and hearts of those who live on it. Nothing is wrong with this world, it is the humans that inhabit this world that makes it hard to live happily.
You don’t need a reason to be kind. Kindness can be free, when you choose.
You don’t need a reason to care. Caring is easy, when you remove initial judgement.
I didn’t have the greatest childhood. I grew up around people who were bigots and racists, but I did not let it poison my caring nature.
Don’t make excuses, just get out there and do something for your community.
Oh and make sure you’re engaging in something you like. Painting, writing, music, cook meals, educating, coaching a team, etc. there’s something for everyone. So no excuses!
Below are a some examples of what I have done in my community just so you can get some ideas of what you can do.
NOTE: I get to know everyone I help before I help them. Don’t do anything without first knowing who you’re giving to or helping. Some people who are homeless have mental health concerns and should not be approached unless accompanied by a mental health specialist.
- Help others in their job search.
- Help veterans update their resumes.
- Help women veterans staying at the VA domiciliary.
- Tutor low-income youth who want to go to college.
- Clothing drive for impoverished veterans.
- Clothing drive for youth with children.
- Buy homeless neighbor a meal.
- Help a homeless neighbor go to the DMV to get their identification. (I provide bus fair or call an organization who has permits to do this.)
- Help a homeless neighbor make a phone call to a relative.
If you’d like to donate to CMP, please see the Ways To Give page. If there is another idea you have for giving, please let us know and we’ll contact you. Transparency is key with our friends, so if you have questions, please just ask. Thank you for your time and we hope to have your help in the future.