Last Tuesday, August 2, was I Live Here, I Give Here’s fall 2011 See Jane Give! event and my first big ILH, IGH event. Waking up early that Tuesday, I busied myself thinking about all that had to be done to insure the event’s success. I worked feverishly all day, even through the start of the event, to make sure all was going smoothly.
Finally, once the program started, I was able to sit back and take in the enormity of the evening and all that it entailed. I had the pleasure of being seated at Jenny Cochran’s table, a woman who has achieved professional success working for Temple-Inland and who has committed her time and resources to several local organizations, including I Live Here, I Give Here. Cochran invited the different women seated at her table to introduce themselves, talk about their own personal giving (if any), and say what they hoped to take away from the evening.
The general consensus was that we all hoped to better our personal giving by looking to the women around us that evening, so that we may become the person those around us in our daily lives will be looking to for their personal giving.
Keynote speaker Elizabeth Christian shared personal stories about how her life of planned personal giving was shaped by the people who raised her. Christian spoke about how her father and adopted mother gave when “no one was looking” or when “no one was asking,” they gave because they saw a need and knew they could help meet it. Those acts of loving-kindness were not performed for personal gain, but to strengthen a community.
Christian’s life is still greatly impacted by her parents’ acts of giving since to this day, people she has never met before tell stories of her parent’s support in a time of much need. Even more special, Christian’s mother was able to attend the event to hear the speech.
The notion that a person’s parents and family form their own personal giving resonated throughout our table’s conversation for the rest of the night. I was accompanied by mothers who wanted to impress upon their children the importance of giving back and those, like myself, who wanted to know where to even start. The fact that we were even seeking out the answers to these questions showed we were all on the right path and off to a pretty good start.
The shared discussion was informative, insightful, and gave me a “giving high.” As I move forward in my daily life and days are put between that evening and myself, I will remember the words that were shared and how I seek to incorporate into my life planned personal giving.
For those women who would like to join in this discussion of personal giving, please check back in the spring for the next See Jane Give!