The question. THE question. The question.
When you’re thirty it might be a marriage proposal, but when you’re eighteen, just having caught your thrown graduation cap, its, “What the hell am I going to do with my life?!”
It’s a scary concept. To think that steps we make -two years after we became legally certified to drive a car!- will forever shape your future…So when I went to college, I framed the question to myself a thousand different ways: What do I want to study for four years? How do I want to spend my time? Where do I want to work? What do I want from life? What’s going to make me happy?
Breaking it down didn’t make it simpler. Any way I looked at it, spending the best 8 hours of the day at work was depressing. “There’s not a great alternative to a job, though,” my logic went, “so I guess if I have to toil a third of my day away it better be for a pretty good reason.”
That is how I came to be a nonprofit nerd (I read blogs and books about donor cultivation…don’t’ judge) and ultimately a Columbus Foundation Fellow for Children’s Hunger Alliance.
Today I finished my first week as an intern for Children’s Hunger Alliance, a nonprofit that acts as a middleman between USDA funding for food and locations that have hungry children to feed. For most of the year, they’re facilitating breakfasts and after school school snacks, but when school is out, CHA works to provide healthy lunches and nutrition education for kids who might not get a nutritious meal anywhere else.
I can say at the end of my first week that CHA has proven to be everything I anticipated from a nonprofit. It’s pace is fast and the computers are slow, the employees are over tasked and probably underpaid, their passion is infinite and their greed is nonexistent. I get stiff sitting at my computer, but then I stand up and drive to a site. A four year old smiles and talks to me as she hula-hoops on a full stomach and her older sister (no more than 6) stays close by, watching her protectively. I don’t know where their parents are or what they would be doing if they weren’t here in this moment talking to me. And I don’t want to think about it, especially as the boys scuffle and strut about, straining to show their dominance in the only way they know how, and the older girls talk about who said who wants to fight who.
Another random child runs up to hug me on my way out. I don’t know her, but as I walk out knowing that my time at the computer leads to a meal, a smile, and a hug in a child’s day, I’m pretty sure I’ve answered the question.
People are the only things that matter, and the only things worth working for. I’m so fortunate that I get to spend my time on things that matter ❤