Today, we celebrate seven years of making a difference in our city! Believe it or not, 2,556 days have passed, and our passion to become a generation of difference makers has grown all the more. We are so grateful to have the opportunity to meet some of the amazing individuals which compose the beautiful city of Miami. Some of these are women and children who have been victims of domestic violence and are looking for a fresh start. Others, are children of immigrant workers in Homestead who are learning about a new country and new language. A very special group of individuals with disabilities have also been part of our journey in making a difference. Some of these extraordinary people have been our very own difference makers which serve the community month in and month out. And so many hundreds more which we have crossed paths with throughout this time; every single one counts.
As we begin a new year of service, we want you to know that YOU are also one of those exceptional individuals who can make a difference in their everyday life so we put together a list of seven practical ways to make a difference:
Make yourself available: Maybe for you that means setting apart 30 minutes each week to have coffee with a friend to check how they are doing emotionally. Maybe for someone else that means having lunch with a co-worker or classmate that you know is going through a rough time. Or maybe, that simply means asking “how are you?” and taking the time to listen to someone’s real answer. Whatever it looks like for you, make yourself available emotionally and with time, and quickly you’ll impact someone’s life.
Greet others: Let’s break the stereotypes of our generation and greet others. You can say “good morning” when you walk into an office or are walking down the street, smile, and brighten up someone’s day. You can say “thank you” when someone holds the door open and be genuinely grateful. Choose to be the light in a dark room by simply being polite.
Pick up 10 pieces of trash when you go to the beach or park: Imagine the impact we would have on our environment if everyone put this into practice. It will take about 5 minutes of your time and you will not only help better conserve the environment, but will also leave it cleaner for the person that comes after you.
Use your birthday for good: Whether it’s donating your birthday gifts to a non-profit through Facebook donations or spending your day following an “acts of kindness” list with your friends, there’s many ways to spend your special day making a difference.
Clean out your closet every 3 months: Seasons change and so does your closet. Instead of letting things pile up, clean out your closet every 3 months and donate your clothes to a homeless shelter. It will be a fresh start for both you and the people you serve.
Be intentional, send a text: Sometimes our friends are hurting and all they need is someone to reach out. Having a good support system drastically improves the rate of depression and anxiety recovery and you could be that difference maker. Text someone you haven’t heard from today and have a meaningful conversation. Ask about their family, work, school, situation, and be intentional with every response.
Sign up for a monthly service event through M.A.D.E, your local church, or any organization in need of volunteers.: Once a month, we hold an event that impacts our community. We choose a different area to reach each month so you can see all of the different issues which need volunteers to make a difference. Whether is through M.A.D.E., church, or any other non-profit, take one day of the month to give back, love others, and shine a light; you won’t regret it.
What we have learned on this journey is that every person matters and everyone deserves to be loved. No one is excluded from this, which means even the youngest volunteer can make an impact in our city and that has been our goal from day one. We hope that you celebrate with us today and continue being part of our vision to build up a generation that makes a difference in their society.
Alejandra Alvarado and Ester Avero