I (Jeanette) have finally gotten around to writing my blog post that has been swirling around in my head for weeks. It’s a long one but worth the read…
As we come closer to our end result for Making Spirits Bright, I have realized my motivation is twofold. Of course I want to help our families have something they couldn’t without us, but I have also wanted to invoke change in my friends and family who aren’t buying into our cause. My sister has given me the push to put this into words.
Since I was born, I have changed lives (good or bad.) My sister went from an only child to an older sibling. My parents went from proud cheerful parents to sleep deprived maniacs (love you mom and dad.) Growing up I always played devil’s advocate to all issues and fought fiercely for things I believed in with the hope that I could change someone’s perspective. I became a Social Worker then Teacher to change the lives of the people I come in contact with. During my growth I have learned a lot about change. It is scary, uncomfortable and difficult to understand.
My newest project (MSB) has made me most proud of the changes I have invoked in many people’s lives. This post has to do with the changes I have made in the hearts of the more fortunate. Of course I am proud of all the work we have done for our families, but to me that is easier than reaching the people who don’t believe in what we are doing.
Working for RCSD has shown me many sides of poverty and disparity. I have heard all of the stereo types and see some of them day to day. I am not denying they exist, I am suggesting they are not the majority. In our process of asking for help from our community I have encountered so many generous people who are willing to give, because they have the means to do so. I have also experienced reactions of dislike for our organization with the complaint that we are enabling our families to continue to take handouts and excuse them from working to meet their needs. I can understand why some may feel this way, but I also know it comes from many who have never actually met the types of families who are in need of help. They are reacting from stereo types and media reports only.
This morning I read a blog post from my sister Erica Berrios. This post made me more proud of myself than almost anything else. Her kind words and acknowledgment made me realize I have the capability to change the mindset of people. She made a comment that helped me see that and I quote “ When my sister first told me what she was doing with this organization my first thought was, is she out of her freaking mind?” I love this because it shows how different we are and that we don’t always see eye to eye. This quote was followed by “well if anyone can do it, she can.” This one made me cry. Her pride in me is something I have needed to hear my entire life. A third quote is what I have been trying to do my entire existence. “I honestly think this one (MSB) really made a large mark on my heart.” To me this is something I will take the grave, knowing I have shown someone how I look at the world, and the capability we have to make it a better place.
Erica has taken it upon herself to begin an effort in Virginia Beach to help those less fortunate. By seeing the wish lists and the basic necessities listed, the stereo types are set aside and the hearts are opened. She has adopted an entire family in Rochester, and continues our work from states away. I cannot express how proud I am of her. This is a change in her that makes me see her differently than what I have always known. Thank you Erica Berrios for your kindness and support, it means the world to me. I hope you don’t feel I have casted you in a negative light. I know you have always had a kind heart, but to use your own words “sometimes I need reminding.” It takes a strong person to step out of their life and look for a way to help others. Your work in VA will not stop with the help you give our families. Your children will take away a valuable trait much needed in our world. For that, I am ever grateful.
Like I said, this one was lengthy but I need to share my pride and successes in hopes it motivates one more person to look at people differently. I ask you to put aside the negative, and see people as they are. Open your eyes to reality. People need help; children need help and by helping you are teaching others to return the favor. This is your chance to make a difference and give one person hope that life can be different from what they have always known.