Punishment or Inspiration…

I remember, when I was a rebellious teenager, I thought I was pretty badass.

I was busy doing all sorts of things I was not supposed to be doing. Cutting school and hanging out at the park across the street from Berkeley High, acting out, trying to be cool…

My mom Stephanie decided to discipline me for one of my many acts of rebellion.

By this time, I had really worn out being grounded. So, instead of grounding me, she told me, “We were going to volunteer.”

Off we went to work for Habitat for Humanity. They build houses for poor and homeless families.

I remember pulling up to the construction site early in the morning. I probably said something in a whining voice like “Do I HAVE to?”

I had to work. Helping out everyone who was there that day building houses, for families in need. Fetching tools and building supplies, cleaning up, etc. 
And for several hours I worked – as punishment for the wrong I’d done.

I would love to be able to tell you that I was gracious about it.

But I wasn’t. I was a little shit, a snotty teenager. Rolling my eyes and dragging my feet every step of the way.

It was a long day and as the hours passed something in my attitude started to change. I started to look around at the people working with us.

Their determination to give back to the families in need of housing, it started to rub off on me.

I started to help in earnest, without the feet dragging and the eye rolling. And it felt good. 
But what actually caused that change to happen in me?

It wasn’t any conviction in my heart… I wasn’t that noble. What caused that change was the community around me.

Witnessing others giving selflessly, inspired me to join them.

Now, I have a name for that phenomenon.

We call it the Chain of Inspiration. When one person becomes inspired, and others see it, hear about it, and feel it. They become inspired too.

We have founded Impact Club Union City to strengthen the Chain of Inspiration. One person becomes inspired and moved to give, and then they turn around and inspire another person and then another person.

At Impact Club, we meet quarterly, and we listen to three local nonprofits give a five minute presentation. Just one person and a microphone telling the story of their cause.

What is the purpose of their organization? Why there is a need? How our donation will make an Impact on the people of our community.

Then, after the presentations, every member of Impact Club votes for the local charity of their choice. We tally up those votes and each member gives $100 to the winning charity. When we reach our goal of 100+ members, that will mean a $10,000 donation impacting our local community, 4 times a year! That is $40,000 a year of Impact for the good of our Community.

At our launch, our first meeting, we had 47 members and we were able to donate $4,700 to One Child, a charity providing disadvantaged children with new clothing and school supplies.

Today we have given over $35,000 to local charities.

Who knows what it takes for each of us to be inspired to give? What if I hadn’t been a bad teenager, so bad that grounding me wasn’t enough? What if I hadn’t had that experience of giving at a young age?

At heart we are all givers. Each and everyone of us has the power to inspire another person to give with us.

Because I know the power of inspiration, it’s given me the courage to share my personal stories with this community, with the hope that what I share will inspire many more people to give back.

It’s my hope that you will feel inspired to join us.

#ImpactClub #ImpactClubUnionCity

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