2017 was a challenging year for me. I lost a dear family member and a beloved fur-baby. We moved houses and welcomed a newborn into the family. I constantly felt sad when watching the news. And so, my New Year’s resolution for 2018 was to look beyond my own stress and do 50 Acts of Goodness for my community in Pittsburgh, PA. I decided to document it all on an Instagram account — @thegoodpeoplenetworkofpgh — in order to keep me accountable and to also share the good work that is being done in the community. Enough with the despair and more action to make the world a little better of a place!
I have never kept a New Year’s Resolution in my entire life. This, however, was too important. I was terrified that I would make this very public declaration and then fall flat on my face mid-year. I consulted with a few friends who were experts in volunteerism and in fundraising, did tons of research on non-profits in my area, and spent much time scrolling through Instagram to establish my account. Ultimately, my Year of Goodness evolved organically.
So, here is what entailed — I did 51 Acts of Goodness with my friends and family in 2018. We donated time, money, and materials to 32 unique non-profits. We made birthday treat bags, raffle baskets, lunches, dinners, satchels, greeting cards, literacy kits, and “Goodness” bags. We cleaned bathrooms, packaged diapers, organized donations, helped foster parents “shop,” ran credit card machines at fundraisers, wrapped gifts, and delivered food. We learned a lot about what it takes to run a non-profit, how to throw an effective fundraiser, and how to fill a need in the community.
We also learned that doing good work not only helped others, but it helped our own well-being too! I know that I have changed in this Year of Goodness — mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually. I still have a lot to learn, but I feel like I have a better understanding about my fellow neighbors, about socio-economic issues, mental health, maternal health, and so on. I’ve looked up from my own anxieties and have realized that I can be a part of a beautiful network of good people who are there to lift each other up in their times of need.
The non-profits that we supported in 2018 were diverse and supported babies, children, foster families, families who are struggling financially, disabled individuals, elderly, veterans, homeless men and women, postpartum families, refugees, and the environment. I cannot explain how amazed I am at the people who dedicate their lives to these causes. They are true super heroes and deserve much gratitude and help from our community.
If you are interested to learn more about any of the organizations that we have supported, check out the website listed below or message me.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania
Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank
North Hills Community Outreach
Pittsburgh Mercy’s Operation Safety Net
Postpartum Support International
Save the Earth Projects (S.T.E.P.)
United Way — Be a Middle School Mentor