Who is Betsy Blake?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Why Volunteer? Why MaAfrika Tikkun?

I am convinced that we are obligated to live our lives with certain responsibilities:  to embrace religion and live with that embodiment, to be kind to one another, and to be the very best that we can be.  I am also certain that our obligations to take care of one another should not be limited to our own families, but should reach out to those vulnerable members of our communities.  Living a life of giving will provide life’s most fulfilling riches.
It feels so fortunate, and humbling, to be able to experience a trip to MaAfrika Tikkun, a charity helping some of South Africa’s most desperate men, women and children.  Traveling due to my career with Safelite® and Belron® has made the world seem so much smaller, and more like extensions of the communities of which I have been a part.  So, to visit an organization making extraordinary changes in peoples’ lives by providing education, food, counseling and funding for many other services which will allow people to sustain a dignified and significant life, will likely be an event of a lifetime for me.
I struggle to describe the emotion I feel when I am asked what this trip means to me, and what I expect to “get” from the experience of volunteering for just one week, at MaAfrika Tikkun.  I expect to learn that there is a whole other world of challenges and difficulties I cannot fathom.  I expect to see parents loving their children in the same way as I.  I expect to feel heartbreak at seeing children raising children, but also hope, that the skills and counseling being provided will allow them to flourish in their own ways.  And I hope to show that we come from another continent, but that our hearts are open, and that caring for other communities is universal. 
My experience with other charitable organizations has allowed me to personally witness how some of life’s tragedies can be mitigated and even reversed by the funding and personal care of others.  Seeing it first-hand provides a level of understanding which can translate into approaching fundraising with a truer sense of purpose, given that first-hand knowledge of the good the monies can do.  I expect to be able to share the plight of the townships’ vulnerable, after seeing it personally, and to continue to make a difference by helping to sustain the programs’ services.
It is a great privilege to be afforded this experience, and I am so very thankful.

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