my story with Humanity and Hope
if you don't want to read this whole post, scroll to the bottom for a video!
My parents have always been the ones giving of their time, energy, resources and finances to people and causes they believed in (including us kids). We were always raised with the knowledge that what we had were gifts from God and we should use our gifts to bring Him glory. I've always been involved with some ministry over the years, but knew I wanted to partner with something on the business side of my life to make an impact and leave a legacy bigger than myself.
In December of 2016, my Momma passed away very unexpectedly and to say 2017 was a hard year is an understatement. Everyone grieves differently (and that's a post for another day), but I knew in order to crawl out of some dark holes I needed to find someway to remind myself that life is much bigger than my bubble. Now - I'm not belittling my own feelings, heck, I still cry very often over loosing Momma; but I just had to keep moving forward with life and her legacy of giving of herself to causes she believed in. Now it was my turn.
The first two years in my business I chose two other organizations to donate to. The first was The Shine Project and I bought all my clients matching bracelets to help sponsor inner-city students in their journey to college. The next one was the A21 Campaign which rescues women from sex traffic all around the world. I love the work the A21 Campaign and The Shine Project do, but it is hard to get hands-on involved with them.
Partnering with Hope
Last Fall I found out about the Humanity and Hope United Foundation through Ben Higgins' Instagram account. For the next few months, I followed Humanity and Hope on Instagram and I was definitely curious about their work. When they mentioned that they were helping create jobs and businesses for women in Honduras, something just clicked. My Momma ran a business with her dad and brothers for over years. Her work ethic and practices have definitely left an impact on me. I could go on and on talking about Momma, and if we ever meet in person, I probably will. But just know that because of my personal experience with her as a working mom, and being a business owner myself, I really connected with H&H's mission of providing dignifying jobs for mothers to provide for their family.
For a few months though, I still just watched and dreamed of going on a trip with them this coming fall. One of my Powersheets goals for January 2018 was to find somewhere to serve outside of my church. I had a few ideas, but nothing seemed to click. I think it was right at the end of January when I was messaging with H&H on Instagram about getting involved and learning more about what they do. The girl who ran the IG account, Ally B, was so nice and I mentioned that I do blogging, social media, and newsletters for clients all over the country and if they ever needed help with theirs I would love to help out. We hopped on a call and the next thing I know, I've signed up for their April trip and began helping work on social media strategies. Call that goal checked off in the nick of time! Haha!
Our April Trip
This would be my third trip out of the country since November 2017, but the first time by myself. I'm not gonna lie, I was a tadddd nervous figuring out a foreign airport by myself, but thankfully recognized a few of my trip mates that had been before via social media and emails. I will say, I definitely recognized more Spanish than I did Hebrew and Arabic on my Israel trip in March. The team on this April trip was full of people who had either been on a trip already, or who have been working with H&H as a volunteer stateside but ready to go on their first trip. I was really excited to meet people who have been with H&H for awhile to learn even more about the organization.
Humanity and Hope is built on Six Pillars - Leadership, Economy, Education, Health, Infrastructure, and Community - and we work within these pillars to offer support to our 3 communities. Our priorities during the trip were to assess their needs in 3 of the categories - Economy, Education, and Health. I was on the Economy team because of my background with small businesses. It was very eye-opening to learn about their economic situations and how H&H has been able to create jobs for men and women in each community. We also began to ask them how having stable incomes has changed their view on life. They are now able to send their kids to school, purchase food they don't grow, and better their communities overall.
The fun part was sitting with them and dreaming of other jobs they could do, especially the single moms who might not be able to leave their kids at home. Now that some of our communities have electricity, the women want to learn how to sew and make hammocks too. The men who work on the farms carry water back and forth in the hot sun several times a day because the irrigation doesn't cover the whole field. The women take care of the sheep, pigs, and chickens at all hours of the day in order to make sure they're healthy.
To say I was hooked on helping these people is an understatement.
Life after my Humanity and Hope trip
Before and during my trip I got to talk with Ally B about different ways I could be involved other than monthly donations. She brought up the comment I had made back in Jan/Feb about helping with social media. Ally B and I started meeting via video once a week to talk about strategy for utilizing Instagram to raise awareness of H&H. Now they had thousands of followers before I started working with them (and this is where goals come in - its not always about numbers!) but we decided to focus on educating our following for 6 weeks on the different pillars and booking out the rest of our trips. And our trips are booked out until next May!!!
We've also been working with many other team members to build out our volunteer stories because we know people love stories about people who they can relate to and other ways our audience can get involved without going on a trip. I could do a whole post on the process we've been going through to continue to grow our awareness because it's a whole new world than my other client projects, but I'll save that for another post.
Just Get Involved!
I can’t believe I get to be part of this amazing organization every day and all because of Instagram (actually I can’t believe any of my work involves instagram!) Sharing their story, our story with people all over keeps me grounded in more ways than one. Being part of campaign push that raised $37k in 36 hours for clean water for our community of La Cuchilla, was absolutely insane. The cool thing is - you, too, can use your current gifts and skillsets to volunteer with organizations you’re passionate about - whether local or international. Just start looking around you for ways you can get involved and start making connections!
If you’d ever want to come on a trip with me to Honduras, please email me firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d love to talk with you more about it!