I’ve thought of a lot of things to do for my upcoming 40th Birthday this Saturday, here are a few of the ideas I had:
Each idea had its perks and this is a pretty major birthday for me, but today I had an idea while driving on highway 24 west bound towards downtown Oakland. I was thinking about the Vegas trip idea and listening to Counting Crows “Carriage” cranked up and I caught a view of the bay bridge, San Francisco and fog seemingly stalled at the edge of the SF skyline. I was feeling exceptionally grateful and fortunate for my life, family and “where I am at” and thought a trip to Vegas while fun lacked the kind of meaning that I want my this coming chapter of my life to have. The idea that popped into my head was donating my birthday to charity.
How do you donate your birthday?
I know it sounds like a strange idea, but the next step for me was thinking about all the projects my Rotary Club, District and PR group have that I could work on. I also thought about the blogs, websites and Facebook pages that all sorts of local non-profits that I’ve supported, helped or been exposed to over the past couple of years. More importantly I thought about the volunteer opportunities that might exist to donate some time to help others.
The plan involves 4 steps:
Steps 1 to 3 being done offline or already complete, that left me with a list of things to do if no-one has hands on opportunities or requests.
Default Go-to Activity List
Kind of a short list, but it’s also an ambitious list by itself. If you’re interested in following the effort I will tag everything I do with #40thpledge so you can search via Twitter, Google or even as a Tag on this blog.
Update 8/29/2010 – One of my friends over at Amplify.com was asking me about updates on this effort. Here is how my day went (quick summary I want to record a video later)
- Many of the 11 non profits responded, 2 of them had tasks for me for Saturday.
- One task was to talk to husband of the founder of the Booker T. Washington Empowerment Network about using Social Media (Youtube and Facebook mostly).
- Another task was to help Sonrise Equestrian Foundation with Ranch Cleanup.
- Since this was only part of the day I planned to work on a website for Rotary in the Valley, a group of 6 Rotary clubs regional effort.
Booker T. Washington Empowerment Network
I spoke with Anthony on my drive to Sonrise Equestrian. We discussed how to use the Facebook pages, Causes and some best practices for Facebook and Youtube. Anthony is pretty sharp he knew the right questions to ask and I am confident that he will be able to effectively execute. If not I’m prepared to advise them on an ongoing basis.
Sonrise Equestrian Foundation
The founder of this wonderful organization is Melanie Burke, after she spoke at my Rotary Club earlier this year I invited her to be on my Podcast. You can listen to that interview here. I spent 4 hours at the Charles Wilhelm Training Center – the ranch that hosts Sonrise. I was teamed up with a few other volunteeers carting in broken down asphalt into the back yards of the horse stables. The challenge with this job involved clearing the thresholds and the stuff is heavy and difficult to spread. I learned it helps with drainage in the rainy months. We also repaired one of the stables with some plywood sheets. Evidently sometimes horses lay down too close to one side of the stall and don’t realize they can just roll over so they panic and kick the heck out of the wall. Wow I would not want to be anywhere near that when it was occurring. My time working with the Sonrise volunteers was the highlight of my day. She has a very supportive group of people that help her, and when you meet Melanie or hear her story you will probably understand why.
Rotary in the Valley
Since I was out of requested tasks to do I looked at where I could have the most impact using my skills. I can navigate my way around WordPress fairly well and there was a site that needed to be built for Rotary in the Valley. It is still a work in progress but you can check it out here. This site is a team effort of the 6 San Ramon Valley Rotary club’s PR chairs. I happen to the PR chair for the Danville/Sycamore Valley Rotary for the 2010-2011 year. Our fearless leader is none other than THE Bill Randall, our District 5160 PR Chair and Alamo Rotary past president. Bill drives the bus and we all do our best to support his efforts. Rotary is very important to me and the benefactor of the majority of my community service outreach time.
Ultimately I do what I do for my benefit, but I am always thinking about my son and the importance of setting an example for him. I learned about the importance of serving others through my mother. She used to bring me and my other siblings to visit elderly people in the local convalescent hospital. I know she also volunteered throughout her life and the things I do know about probably only scratch the surface. My mom passed away 10 years ago and I suppose for me being able to give back and follow in her footsteps to some degree is really a celebration of her good example. I hope as a result that this has somehow inspired you.
Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does. ~William James