Last week, I was scrolling through my news feed and a post caught my eye. Robyn Rihanna Fenty received the 2017 Humanitarian award from Harvard for her global philanthropic initiatives. I wasn’t aware that Rihanna began at age 18 creating platforms to help others in need, and is an advocate for global health and education. Honestly, I am somewhat biased because I love me some Rih Rih, but it was her message that moved me.
“Our mission is to impact as many lives as possible…but it starts with just one.”
We are living in a time where acts of kindness are displayed frequently. Half of my Facebook timeline is random videos of paying it forward in some way or another. Some of us question the motive for this display of giving back. I like to believe people give back and help because they genuinely want to make a difference in other’s lives. Some individuals feel that their contribution might go unnoticed if on a smaller scale, but I am here to tell you people DO notice. Making positive connections with others and being valued in a community is an immeasurable feeling of joy. It is never too late to become part of something great, no matter the size. I was in Downtown Houston just the other week and saw a small group of people giving lunches to the homeless. This is not new, but it is increasing.
Society can have a way of concentrating on stereotypes and glamorizing the wrong things, distracting us. Helping others and being part of something positive can transform a community as well as an individual. As Rihanna said in her speech you do not have to be famous to help a person in need. You do not have to be rich either. It is your heart that should be rich. We were put here to connect with others and to be blessings to those that cross our path. Spread that wealth.
“All you need to do is help one person expecting nothing in return… To me that is a Humanitarian.”
As Rihanna did, I am also challenging each of you to help one person. This person could be in your family, circle of friends, or a complete stranger. Commit to paying it forward without a return on investment. One of my closest friends, Lauren, has taught me all about this. She began a community outreach group from humble beginnings. She has empowered me, along with many others, to expand on these efforts. What I admire most about her is that she does this with grace and grit. She puts in the work to make initiatives happen and never asks for recognition. She is a humanitarian in my eyes and a visionary that promotes positive change to live out your purpose.
“How do I start to help?” There are a multitude of resources and ways to give back in and out of the Houston area. Within the initiatives I have personally worked with, it has taught me something about myself and has built me up in ways I could have never imagined.
- Volunteer Match – pairs you with different volunteer opportunities in your area, visit them HERE
- Houston Food Bank – visit them HERE
- Hashtag Lunchbag – fun way to connect and feed the homeless, check out their Instagram HERE
- Moms of Diversity – year ‘round initiatives to help youth and others, check out their Instagram HERE
- BEAR – Be A Resource for CPS kids, visit them HERE
- Volunteer Houston – visit them HERE
- Katy Partners in Education – Become a mentor in the Katy School District, visit them HERE
- Woman’s Hospital – Check out their new Cuddle Program for special need newborns HERE
Even though Rihanna is a celebrity on a large platform, her message should resonate with everyone. We have all needed help at one point or another. We all need to work to be the change we want to see. Spread positivity and not hate. Building each other up instead of tearing down. Rihanna has her “navy” to support her, but you can create your own. You CAN be that catalyst for change.
What are some ways you give back?
If you haven’t seen Rihanna’s acceptance speech you can find it HERE.