Apr 26, 2019
Growing up an only child, my mom taught me the importance of being charitable and how to share. The older I got, the easier it became to give. I share my experience with Key Club, Kiwanis, Help-Portrait, and Operation Crossroads Africa.
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I’ll talk more about this in another episode but combined with my love language, disc profile (inspiring and supportive) enneagram (Type 2 the helper) and personality type is ISFP-T, it is a given that service is inevitably a part of my life. I’m that big-hearted empath that wears my heart on my sleeve. My Love language is any one of the five on a given day but my biggest is quality time.
As a Muslim, Charity is one of the five pillars of our religion of Islam. I talk more about that in a previous episode (Episode 05 Islam A Way of Life).
Charity becomes more prominent during the holy month of Ramadan. It is more so common for women, especially if they are on their menstrual cycle or pregnant because if you are unable to fast or sustain from eating and drinking from sun up to sun down, then you should be charitable. That can be monetary, or a matter of giving your time and serving or making food for those who are fasting or less fortunate.
Also because of my history of PCOS Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome which I talked about in a previous episode (Episode 02 PCOS Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), I end up doing more charity than fasting. It’s like taking a breath for me.
My first real paid job was as a summer camp counselor to deaf-blind in middle school. No I was not 16 yet, but it was a part of vocational and orientation/life skills. They paid us bi-weekly.
It was such an exciting job because I was able to be of service. I was able to be a listener. I wanted to be a psychologist.
At my first high school, I became a member of Key Club, high school portion of Kiwanis International, during my freshman year. Even though I ran for secretary and did not win the election, my club advisor asked me to be the Class President. I was the president of all the Sophomores. I started a Key Club chapter at my second high school in Fort Lauderdale. Key Club has nothing to do with the making of door keys, but I do believe that service is the key to life as well as kindness.
As a young adult, I became a member of Kiwanis, the Young Adult Club in Washington D.C. where I led a chapter version of the fundraising program called Eliminate (maternal and neonatal tetanus; a bacterial disease can affect joints in third world countries).
The year I graduated high school, I was looking up ways to be of service with my photography skills. I learned about Help-Portrait and photographer Jeremy Cowart, who is based in the Nashville area. He founded it in 2008. It’s an annual event. Photographers, volunteers, makeup artists come together to take a professional picture for free. It’s an exhilarating experience.
I became one of those who would always give the homeless or less fortunate money whenever I could. My favorite and most exciting service projects are the ones where I can interact with people. There was a period where I would question their motive, but then it took me some growing to realize that my intentions are pure and it’s between them and God what they do with the money.
My next real job (A monthly paycheck) was Operation Crossroads Africa. I also talked about them in a previous episode.
(Episode 03 Operation Crossroads Africa) I wore many hats: Photographer for orientation, communications associate for DMV Alumni Association, videographer for their promo videos, social media marketer (Created their Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest), email manager, productivity consultant, advisor, gala steering committee member, and volunteer. That opened a lot of doors for me. They were my first real client. I’m grateful for the opportunities. I look forward to being a group leader either to my husband’s country of The Gambia or to a new country as a part of my goal to visit 30 African countries by age 30. Crossroads Meant so Much to me as a paid job. My love for Africa grew working with Crossroads.
I will give my old clothing items and electronics to Goodwill, Salvation Army or companies like those before I sell it. If it’s not in horrible condition, I will give to someone who I know will be more grateful for it. That mentality stayed with me when it came to recycling.
My favorite quote by Muhammad Ali:
“Service is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.”
My first few jobs involved interacting with people/being of service. One of the 9 Guiding rules of my part-time job is service. No matter what I do where this life takes me, I try to always incorporate service with all of my jobs as a photographer, brand cultivating strategist and as a woman.
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Mentioned in this episode:
Operation Crossroads Africa - The Peace Corps before the Peace Corps.
This message is brought to you by Kiwanis.org. Their partners include UNICEF, Children’s Miracle Network, March of Dimes, and Boys and Girls Club.