In thinking about how we can make a difference in other people's lives, it is important to know the difference between giving a hand up and giving a hand out. A Hand Up: this is when you use the blessings and abilities you have been bestowed with in life (or have had the opportunity to develop) to reach out an arm to another person, hopefully lifting them up or helping them lift themselves up. The key point here being that somehow the person ends up better than they were before. This is a pay-it-forward type of mentality in which we can all understand the ways we can use what we have to help someone else. A Hand Out: this usually involves giving away something of material value that, while it can definitely provide some relief, is usually temporary and does not help someone out of a dire situation or circumstances Some examples of giving a hand up versus giving a hand out are teaching someone a skill, mentoring someone, giving someone a job opportunity, listening to someone, using your privilege to advocate for someone. One great example of giving a hand up is the Peace of Thread organization featured in my upcoming book project. This group sells high-quality, one-of-a-kind purses and accessories made by refugee women. Further, one can open a chapter in their town or city if they see the need for it. Learn more about this organization in my upcoming book. More details to be announced soon! Another example of giving a hand up is Love Beyond Walls, a non-profit dedicated to getting people experiencing homelessness off of the street. Not only do they provide services to make this possible, they also provide a space and community for people to discuss their experiences. With a philosophy to discern, imagine, collaborate, move and impact, this organization is a great exampling of not simply giving handouts but reaching to give a hand up.
I talk about the UNCHR in my book Committee Of One (hyperlink) quite a lot. As many of you know it stands for United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and they deal refugee aid, refugee resettlement, and much more. Below is an infographic which reflects the numbers behind the refugee crisis which the UNCHR and many other organizations are tackling on a yearly basis. (These are statistics from 2016).
Friends are made by serving them or serving with them. Four people I served along side at a nursing home became some of my closest friends. They were there when my mother had to go into a nursing home when her surgery went badly. When she died the day before my finals, my friends were there to support me, helping me get through finals, pack and get home in time for her funeral. Life is fuller and more manageable when you spend a little time each week thinking about others instead of yourself. A life without service is no life at all. by Jessica Jones
I'll be providing quotes from Be The Change for the next several posts, quotes that work with the book I'm writing now. I'm a firm believer in giving a hand up v. a handout. So here are some ideas for you to give that hand up. I think that the moral center of any community rests with its youth. Until young people actually get involved in something--whatever the issue is--things move much more slowly. After they get involved, things take on an energy and quality of possibility that they otherwise don't have. There's a totally different vibe that young people bring to their work. This has been true throughout history, all over the world, as well as in our local communities. There's an entirely different dynamic that gets created after young people find their place at the table. Claudia Horwitz, Durham, NC