The Words of the Jones Family
STF was the most challenging undertaking in my life until now. Although I was not able to breakthrough in every aspect of my experience there, I did have a few golden-nugget-experiences. I will share one of them here. My first mobile fundraising team was a group of seven (four of them second generation) and we <, went on a three week trip through Illinois, Iowa, Indiana and Michigan. My goal at the beginning was to make $400 in one day. After getting off to a mediocre start in the first week, I started going down hill fast. I just lost all motivation to fundraise. "Why am I doing this anyway?, "I would ask myself. Whenever I felt this way, I would stop at the next McDonalds and reflect in my journal on what I'm feeling so that I can come to deeper insights about myself and find inspiration. It was mostly a good excuse. And this particular excuse lead to a whole notebook 4
filled with mY ramblinggs bY the end of the trip. After days of making very little ($100 if I was lucky) 1 finally reached out to the director back at the CARP Center. I called him up and he reminded me to "live for the sake of others. " I've heard this a million times before, but what happened in the next day brought the power of this slogan to life.
I went out on my first two hour run, and zip. I made nothing. I was terribly frustrated. I remember senselessly yelling as I was walking down the sidewalk, my wind chimes clanging against each other. I passed a church and decided to go in. There, once again, I pulled out my trusty journal, but this time my writing helped me; something clicked. I realized that living for others in this context meant fundraising with the purpose of actively giving vitality and joy to people. I was < determined to help people, not take their money. This was my attitude and I felt very clearly I would be successful with this mindset. 1 went back out and the first door l came to was answered by an old woman. She looked very tired and uninterested in the wind chimes, but said something about needing help with changing a light bulb. This was itll This was my opportunity.
I went inside and found her apartment in shambles. There was cat food and poop all over the kitchen and living room floors. She had about ten video rentals stacked on top of her TV. She lived alone and couldn't move so well so she spent most of her day watching TV After I changed her light bulb, I swept her kitchen, vacuumed her living room and bedroom. As I was finishing, she said, "Just recently I've been renewing my faith in God and here you came like an angel. " I was no longer selling a windchime for my youth group; I was a gift from God to this woman.
I left her apartment and continued fundraising. People just couldn't say no to me. Twenty dollars here; another twenty there. Suffice it to say something ? changed in my attitude and spirit, and this made all the difference with my external result. In the town of Gross Point, Michigan at 3:30 in the morning, I made my $400 goal.
Matthew Jones STF Class of 1996
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