I grew up poor and went to college to get a degree in finance. My dad was a high school dropout and I was so proud to get into a top-notch university that was well known for being a pipeline to Wall Street, but my plans changed after a disheartening summer internship with a Fortune 50 company. I had just started volunteering the year before, so when I went back to school for my senior year I was anxious to plug back into the world of giving back.
So my senior year of college I started teaching financial literacy in a local high school in Washington, D.C. I quickly realized this meant trying to teach kids how to protect themselves from the banks that I was about to go work for. It's impossible to teach kids about compound interest when they don't know how to do basic math.
Happily educated but confused about my future, I returned to rural Virginia and went back to doing the construction work that I had done during the other summers I was in college. Soon I was looking at opportunities to use my ability to swing a hammer for good and I was excited to find Building Goodness Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing volunteers from the construction industry to the aide of other nonprofit organizations.
Shortly after I went to help build a community center in a rural town in Mississippi that had been devastated by Hurricane Katrina. It was a magical two week experience learning about the local culture and seeing the sheds that BGF had built for homeowners in the town that many of them ultimately ended up using as temporary homes. It was a magical experience where working ten hour days in the hot southern sun seemed to fly by, easily enjoyed just thinking about the future smiling faces that would benefit from my labor.
Fast forward 7 years later, I have a lot more experience in construction and many more hours volunteering for other local nonprofits, from teaching more financial literacy to ESL classes. That volunteer experience with BGF defined my perception of life and I was never tempted to go back to chasing money over personal fulfillment, eventually leading me now to work in the position of the volunteer trip leader for BGF that took me to Mississippi years ago.
Review from #MyGivingStory