Social good, in the broadest sense of the phrase, is anything one does to help another (person, group, cause) without any expectation of a payback. Volunteering, giving to charity, mission trips, community outreach all count as socially positive activities.
Sometimes we want to do some kind of social good but often do not know where to start. Even when we do know where to start, it often feels overwhelming to take that first step. We outline below a helpful mental framework for taking the first step towards making the world a better place.
The road to utopia is paved with lofty dreams and broken promises. It would be great to act in a way that does the most good for the greatest number of people, but this is not always possible. The world often does not work like that.
A more realistic approach would be to look around one’s own locality to see what areas are in need.
First, thinking and acting local gives you a direct connection to the problem at hand. It is easier to see that there a kids in need of winter clothing in your county than to see that kids in some other county are in need of textbooks.
Second, acting local makes it easier to hold and be held accountable. Acting from a distance sometimes means that responsibility is shared amongst various parties who may not all be fully committed to the same goal of social good. Acting local cuts out the middle men and creates more of a direct connection which makes it easier to hold everyone involved accountable.
Here are some questions to help you think about starting local:
Build on strength
We are all blessed with unique gifts and talents. This also means that we do better than others at some things and others not as well. It is important to act from strength in doing social good. This means recognizing what you are good at and trying to serve from there rather starting from what you are average at, or even worse, what you are terrible at.
Acting from a place of weakness is rarely effective and might end up causing confusion and frustration for both parties. Acting from a place of strength will always bring in individual passion which is a key ingredient for doing social good.
An energetic people connecter will probably be miserable volunteering as a research assistant. A person skilled at procedural, organized work might be utterly clueless at teaching art to kids.
Strengths aren’t limited to personality traits though. Tangible resources like time, money, personal possessions can also be viewed as strengths because we all have varying amounts of them.
Here are some questions to help you to start building on strength:
Sometimes our biggest hindrance to getting started is getting started alone. Will people judge me for posting about ethically sourced goods? Wouldn’t it be weird if I showed up to volunteer by myself? What if I don’t learn fast enough? These questions and many others often deter willing people from engaging in socially positive activities.
Finding a friend who shares a similar interest in making socially positive actions can make the process a whole lot easier than venturing out on your own. Nothing gives you as much confidence as knowing your volunteer buddy is just as much of a novice as you are.
Having a buddy also helps with motivation for those days when you do not feel like following through on your activities. Those days when it is freezing cold and you do not want to run that 5k for charity. Or the days when you feel like your language partner has made no progress after several months of tutoring. A good friend will help you honor your commitments over fleeting feelings.
Here are questions to help you find a buddy:
How do you plan on taking action today?
Who is your neighbor? How can you connect with and care for your neighbor?
What if they are refugees?
The video below explores the above questions. Check it out!
It can be difficult to keep up with causes which are close to your heart. Here are a few handpicked articles about refugees to keep you up to date with the latest news.
Burundian refugees in Tanzania pushed to return
The Burundian and Tanzanian government are encouraging to Burundian refugees to return to their country.
In other news: Read more about the Burundi refugees here.
What's the difference between a refugee and an asylum seeker?
Words have power, and as such it is important to use words wisely and intentionally. Amnesty International's article breaks down the differences between 10 commonly used terms in reference to the refugee community.
In other news: Amnesty International has great resources for all things related to multiple social causes. They are a particularly great source for teaching children about refugees from around the world.
A Kenan Art Camp Where Refugee Kids Can Find Fun and Healing
We love to see people helping people, especially when it involves creativity! Young refugees in Durham, North Carolina, utilize art therapy connect to themselves and others around them!
In other news: Art for Refugees in Transition (A.R.T.) has been using art therapy in refugee camps since 1999! Learn more here.
RefuTea is so glad to have a great team of interns this summer! Check out their fun facts and keep an eye out for their great work on our blog, Instagram, and more!
Hometown: Jos, Nigeria
Hobbies: Reading, Sleeping, Photography
School and major: Calvin College - Writing Major
Plans after school: Writing professionally
How did you find out about RefuTea?: Through a friend on Instagram
What do you like best about RefuTea?: It's doing business for a good cause.
If you were going to throw a tea party, what would the theme be?: Mad Hatter's Tea Party like Alice in Wonderland
Hometown: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Hobbies:Writing, Reading, Listening to Music, and watching movies
School and major: Grand Valley State University - Writing Major
Plans after school: Get an apartment near downtown Grand Rapids and pay off my student loans
How did you find out about RefuTea?:I found out about RefuTea through a friend who threw a tea party at Grand Valley.
What do you like best about RefuTea?: What I like about RefuTea is that it aims to help refugees in need, and of course I love tea!
Favorite tea from RefuTea?: Cranberry Cheer
If you were going to throw a tea party, what would the theme be?: Tea with Pirates because I love Pirates of the Caribbean!
Emily Grace Gill
Hometown: Greenville, South Carolina
Hobbies: Spending time with my dog, watching movies with my family and friends, and doing various crafts
School and major: B.A. in Mass Communication from Winthrop University in 2017
Game plan: Keep up my writing skills while working in my current marketing job!
How did you find out about RefuTea?: I started following RefuTea after meeting our founder's sister while studying abroad in Sevilla, Spain!
What do you like best about RefuTea?: I love Autumn's mission of owning a brick and mortar store which employs refugees. I'm so impressed with the follow through and how she ensures RefuTea does all it can to achieve its other goals on the way to the ultimate goal.
Favorite tea from RefuTea?: Amber Peach!
If you were going to throw a tea party, what would the theme be?: When I was a child, a lady threw a Teddy Bear Tea Party at her Southern mansion. I'm fresh out of mansions, but I'd love to throw a Teddy Bear Tea Party for some of the kids I know!
Anna was unable to provide her info at this time. Keep an eye out for her work!
Welcome to RefuTea! I hope you explore the blog for stories about the refugees impacted by RefuTea, blog series on entrepreneurship and tasty tea recipes!