While it feels like a lifetime ago, I can still remember the feeling of financial desperation. I remember the worthless feeling of standing in line hoping for a hand out, so that I could give my son a Christmas present. A decade ago my husband was stuck in another country, and I was suddenly alone with a toddler, trying to find work, while facing eviction.
That scared desperation and embarrassment that hit my heart while searching for help, is what drives me to constantly find ways to give back in my community. It’s been almost a decade sense I was that scared single mom, but I will always remember the smiling faces of the selfless people who were willing to help out a stranger. They weren’t the rich or the famous, they were everyday people who worked hard and cared enough to do what they could.
Now that I am out of the shadows, my husband is back in Boston and a United States citizen, and we have three precious kids. I don’t ever want them to feel entitled or above poverty, because the truth is that we are simply blessed right now and the future could change for us in an instant.
In order to keep their hearts soft and their giving great I make sure they see the less fortunate, the homeless, and the sick. I don’t ever want to shelter them from the pains that others are going through. I make sure they see and partake in giving not only of our money but also of our time.
We are lucky to be involved in a very proactive church that gives back generously to every corner of the world, especially here at home in Boston. Our children are able to see that the dollar they put in the collection plate bought the food they are able to help serve to the hungry. They are able to see the looks on parents faces when they pick up and wrap holiday gifts that my children helped choose to put in the donation box.
We also participate in benefit walks and follow an inspiring and heart breaking story of a local girl that has cancer. My daughter tells her friends about the story when she wears the t-shirt she bought to support this precious family.
I want my children to realize that by giving what we can, no matter how small, we are able to help our community be a better place. Even down to the change they find on the floor of our mini van. While my boy’s main concern when they grab that change, is to put it in the buckets in the center of the mall, to see who can keep their quarter from falling as it spins towards the center. I also want it to be in the back of their minds that the change is also adding up and helping fight hunger.
I have lived in the Boston area my entire life, and have also been lucky enough to have traveled through most of the states and through South America. As a result of my travels, there are two important things I have learned about being a Bostonian. One being that outsiders frequently have the wrong impression of Bostonian’s. Residents from other states often judge us as a city of rude, loud, sports crazed people who can’t drive. While at 32 I still prefer not to drive in the city, and I know our sports teams are above anywhere else. The other two opinions aren’t very accurate because the second thing I’ve learned about Boston is that we are one of strongest, most compassionate and united cities I’ve been to. Those are the values that I want to instill in my children.
We are not rich by any means, we live a lower middle class lifestyle. We are renters, we have older cars, my husband works up to 70 hours a week. However through our strength, love, and compassion even the smallest donation can make a difference.
I think its important to share companies that also believe in giving back with my readers. Capital One is showing they care about the Boston community by once again teaming up with renowned Boston photoblogger, Jesse Burke, to launch the second chapter of ‘Everyday Money Boston’. A program that highlights individuals around the Boston community by showcasing the most meaningful ways in which they use their money.
Capital One believes in supporting its customers in the areas of life that are most meaningful to them, such as the philanthropic deeds they’re devoting to their communities, using their own everyday money.
December 1st is Giving Tuesday in Boston! We are citizens that can face 100 degree heat waves, 6 foot tall snow banks, and one of the highest cost of living in the nation. Yet without faltering when we see someone in need, we run to our neighbors aid. We are more than prestigious colleges, duck boats, and dirty water. We are Bostonian’s. So I ask you, how will you make a Bostonian difference on Giving Tuesday?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.