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A Heart Full of Grace By Emily French
A Heart Full of Grace By Emily French With Martin Luther King, Jr. Day coming up, I thought we could talk a little bit about social change and “making a difference.” What does that even mean, you might be thinking to yourself. I’m not sure that’s an answerable question – I think making a difference looks different for everyone.
I went to Mercer University for both my undergraduate and graduate degrees, worked as a graduate assistant, then became a full-time employee of the school. If you’re familiar with Mercer, you know that one of the most common university mottos is “At Mercer, everyone majors in changing the world.”
I spent a lot of my academic career wondering how I could make a difference. Should I apply for medical school or pursue public health? Should I go on mission trips with my church or volunteer locally? Should I advocate for legislative change or try to support disenfranchised individuals in a more personal way?
Something I recently discovered is that there isn’t one right way to make a difference. Whether you have mobilized thousands of people for a cause, mentored a young child, or given your time to a local non-profit organization, you are significant, and the impact you are having matters. One of my favorite things about working for CES is our tagline: Partnering for Social Change. Our clients are all working to better their communities, and I am so grateful to be a part of that process.
If you want to make a difference, the first step is to decide what is important to you. There are endless options: arts, the environment, children, health and wellness, the elderly, civil rights, etc. Look for opportunities to volunteer or donate to these causes. Volunteer Match is an online service that allows you to select service opportunities based on location and area of interest. Talking to friends, family, coworkers, pastors, etc. can give you more ideas of where to serve and how to get started. Ask your connections on social media if they know anyone who is in need of some help. My challenge to you is to find what you are passionate about, and find a way to serve that passion. Volunteer. Donate. Mentor. As Dr. King famously said in 1957, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”