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Posts Tagged ‘donations’

Last Sunday I went to a party for my friend Dan who was celebrating surviving three years of law school.  There was some really good food there too.  Somebody made some shawarma that was fantastic. 

I met a guy there named Mike and decided to give him my $10 for the day.  

Mike E. (Photo: Reed)

 

Mike is married and lives in Burtonsville, MD with his family.  He got a degree in Engineering but decided that a career in engineering wasn’t what he wanted and went back to school at the University of Maryland at College Park to study kinesiology.  

Kinesiology, from the Greek words kinesis (movement) and kinein (to move) and ology (branch of study), is the branch of physiology that studies the mechanics and anatomy in relation to human movement. 

Mike has been working at a physical therapy clinic in Rockville, MD for three years.  “I love the gym and I love sports,” he said.  “This was just a natural fit for me.”  Mike’s work is truly rewarding.  He shared with me a story about a woman who slipped and fell and pulled her hamstring as a result.  She didn’t take care of it and the problem got worse.  It got so bad that she couldn’t sit for a year.  Mike then got the opportunity to work with her and she started to improve and was finally able to sit again.  Mike added, “When you are able to help someone feel better, you feel good too!”  It’s not so different than my experience of daily giving. 

You know how when you meet a lawyer, you feel compelled to ask some legal questions.  If you meet an accountant, you’re certain to think of some obscure tax question that you have wanted to get resolved…well, I am no different I guess.  So I have been suffering from neck and back pain which results in numbness down my right arm and in my hand.  I shared this with Mike and he asked me some questions about the pain. 

This is where my back pain seems to stem from. And no, this is not me!

 

Before I knew it, I was lying down on the floor and Mike was working on my neck.  He got it a lot looser and improved my range of motion.  I still had pain and numbness, but there seemed to be some improvements just after 20 or 30 minutes.  Mike gave me some exercises to do at home to try to reduce my pain.  It was so incredibly nice of Mike to take time to try to help me feel better.  Thanks Mike! 

I also have an appointment with a physician later this month, but I am looking into trying to do some physical therapy as well.  Anyone who has ever had similar pain knows how much it starts to affect your life.  I can’t wait until I am pain-free. 

Mike decided to donate his $10 to Freeset, a fair trade business that offers meaningful employment to women trapped in Kolkata’s sex trade. According to the group, there are more than 10,000 sex workers in Kolkata, formally called Calcutta.  These women were forced into prostitution by trafficking or poverty.  Freeset offers them a real choice.  When they choose to work at Freeset, they can start new lives, regain dignity in their communities, and begin a journey towards healing and wholeness.

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On Saturday I had an amazing day.  My cousin Doug was in town from Colorado for some meetings.  He decided to stay the weekend and had a great idea of heading down to the Richmond area to do a couple of things.  

First, we have some family in the greater Richmond area so we managed to make my cousin Dianne’s daughter’s birthday party.  Later we had dinner with our aunt Carol, her husband John, and Dianne.  That was really great. 

The other reason for our trip was to do some genealogy research.  We have a family cemetery in Goochland County, VA and also have a relative that is the only person to be buried in the Old Blandford Church in Petersburg, VA.  (more about this church tomorrow!)

Leake Cemetery, Goochland, VA (Photo: Reed)

Anyway, we left the birthday party to try to find the cemetery in Goochland.  It is in a wooded area and is not marked.  If you don’t know that it is there, you are not going to find it.  We pulled the car over on the side of the road and walked back into the woods to search for it.  We had both been there before and had a rough idea of where it was located.  Part of the reason we were there was to document its location.

Well, we traipsed around for about a half hour before we found the small cemetery.  There are about a dozen headstones there from the Leake side of my family surrounded by a waist-high cement wall.  After spending some time at the cemetery, we decided to see if we could find someone who lived nearby that might know who owns the land that it is on.  We would like to do some work on the cemetery to help preserve it, but thought we should check with the landowner first so that we do not cause any problems (or get shot!).

So we drove around to what we thought was the backside of the property.  We came to a small fork in the road.  The road to the left had several “No Trespassing” signs clearly displayed.  The other road was a drive way to a beautifully groomed property.  Can you guess which way we chose?

Matt's beautiful property (Photo: Reed)

At the end of the driveway we found a house and picturesque pond off to the right side of the house.  We knocked on the door, but nobody answered. You could see in the house from the door and saw that a light was on.  “I’ll walk around back and see if anyone is out back” I told my cousin.  He turned a little pale and said, “I don’t know…you might get yourself shot walking around somebody’s property like that.”  

The good news is that I did find somebody out back.  The even better news is that Matt was only armed with a big smile.  

Matt is 28 and grew up on this property which spans 300 acres.  He is a farmer and raises grass-fed cattle as well as some chickens and ducks.  He has about 70 cows.  Along side Matt was his dog, Chico.

Matt & Chico in front of 200 yr old outdoor kitchen (Photo: Reed)

I wish I could properly describe Matt’s demeanor.  He had this gentle, modest, humble demeanor and a warm loquacious speaking manner.  He was relaxed and friendly and his face broke into smile so naturally that you felt like you were among family.

Matt said that he was going to give the money to the James River Association.  The group’s mission is to protect the James River, which more than one-third of all Virginias rely on for water, commerce or recreation.  Yesterday I got an email from Matt that I would like to share with you all:

Reed,

It was a great surprise meeting you on Saturday.  I am glad you guys made it out to the farm.  Right after you left I was telling my girlfriend about what you are doing and her jaw dropped because she had just read about you in the [Washington] Post.  I have really enjoyed reading some of the stories on your site..  I admire your commitment to this project, and know that you are inspiring a great deal of kindness.  In the spirit of your generosity, I decided to sponsor 10 participants in the James River Runoff Rundown for $10 each.  The Rundown is a one day event in which paddlers join forces to cover the entire 340 miles of the James River in order to raise money for the James River Association.  Here’s the link.

 Thanks for again for what you are doing,

 Matt G.

This is amazing.  I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am when I learn that my $10 inspires further giving, especially when it parlays into a $100 donation.  

Matt you are a class act.  You made my day…and thanks for not shooting me and my cousin!

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On Friday I came home to my apartment to find a package full of items for Gregory of Day 71

Thanks again Darnell!

So Day 98 was an interesting day.  I actually met up with a local news reporter and cameraman and they followed me around while I gave away my $10.  I also ran into Phillip from Day 75.  He was doing great.  He always makes me smile.

It was raining so I took cover at the top of the escalators at the Tenleytown Metro. 

The first woman I approached said that she didn’t have time as she was on her way to exercise class.  I then approached a couple, but they were looking for a ZipCar location and were late to pick up their car.  Then saw a woman walking into the Best Buy and tried to speak with her but she refused.  

Chris - Day 98 (Photo: Reed)

It was my fourth attempt of the day when I approached Chris.  He kindly stopped and said that he would accept my $10.  It turns out Chris is on his way to work.  He lives in Maryland and takes the Metro down to Tenleytown and then hops on a bus that takes him down to his job in Upper Georgetown.

Chris works in the mortgage business.  

We talked a little bit about giving.  He thinks that giving is mostly spontaneous.  That the decision of whether he gives to someone on the street or not is triggered in the seconds before he gives or decides not to.  As it relates to giving to people on the street, I think this is the case for most individuals.  You might have a preconceived notion about giving in these situations, but that may change in the moment if for example the person says something to you that sparks your desire to help them.

When Chris isn’t putting in insane hours at the mortgage firm, he enjoys going out and “enjoying life.” He also likes to cook…me too!  I can’t remember if he said he had taken some classes or he wanted to.  I recently took two courses at the Sur La Table store at Pentagon City.  They were great.  Chris has actually got some practical experience from when he worked as a cook in college.

Chris thought a minute about what he would do with the $10 and decided to give it to a homeless person.  “There are a couple of guys right outside my office…I will give it to one of them.”

We parted ways and I saw his bus a few hundred feet away getting ready to pull away.  He hustled over and thankfully made his bus…I would have felt bad had he missed it because he took time to speak with me.

UPDATE: I met up with Chris again on Friday and he hadn’t given away the $10 yet as the guys who are usually outside his office had not been there all week.  He hopes that he sees them this week.

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