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supermanI like to donate my hard-working funds to charity.  I am not a millionaire and because of the sheer amount of debt that I have incurred the amount I am able to donate is not great.  But I like to hope that it sends more than just money to these charities; I like to think it sends my approval and my encouragement for the things they are doing.  I don’t honestly believe anyone really needs my encouragement, and certainly if you are doing something truly worthy my opinion on the subject shouldn’t make a difference in the world.

I look for organizations helping children.  In the past, I have often donated to the big chains, like Make-a-Wish and St. Jude’s and despite my desire to send funds to helping children, I have sent money to veteran organizations as well.  I donate my money because of the guilt knowing I can’t help, the laziness I know that I display each day, and the need to feel like I am doing something good, the feeling that I am a great person, even when all I am doing is hitting a button to wire something.

Children are one of my weaknesses.  In my mind, there is no one more susceptible to hatred, abuse, neglect, starvation, disease, hopelessness, and abject misery as children.  If a child is hungry, they can not get a job a McDonald’s and work enough to eat; if a child is locked in a room, they neither have the knowledge or the strength to break away.  Some children are taught fear and they are taught pain before they ever are taught beauty or perfection.  They are thrown into situations they can not comprehend, and they are thrown into situations that would destroy each of us.  They get sick, they get hungry, they forget how to play and forget how to sing.  With the resilience only a child can show they may find their own joy but that joy will be nothing like you and I can know.

Have you ever seen a sick child laugh?  Have you ever watch an abused child dance? Have you ever watched a child comfort their mom?  It will break your heart.  It will teach immediately what real strength is, and what real love looks like. It will humble you, inspire you, and change you faster and easier than any other single thing on this earth.  Even I, who never cries – ever – can get a tear in my eye watching this.  I always thought that nothing could touch me, I was to protected until I watched a sick child comforted her mother.  In that moment I learned that I am nothing; that my abilities are nothing, and my pain is nothing.  I learned that a child’s smile, whether from a child ravaged by cancer or from a child born healthy, can change your life.

My mother thinks its ridiculous that I don’t automatically give my money to the brand name organizations. She thinks it is dangerous to give my money to these little organizations even when they are doing so much.  And my response today, and every time she asks, is that I hope my money is going to the children.  I hope my money is going to those that could use it.

I look for organizations that do more than just provide research and medicine.  While I think research and medicine is vital to the health and welfare of our children, I like to find other ways.  I like to donate to an organization that gives pajamas and books to children in need (http://pajamaprogram.org/WordPress/).  I like to donate to organizations that sew capes for sick children, to help them feel like Superman (http://tinysuperheroes.com/). These are the organizations that I search for, the organizations that I researched and listen for. These are the organizations that I need to help.

There are thousands of organizations out there dedicated to everything from help for elderly to help for the babies.  Some of them are legit and real, some of them are just scams. It doesn’t really matter.  I don’t have a million dollars to donate, I have twenty-five.  And if I donate accidentally to an organization that is not on the up and up, that is okay.  I won’t do it again.  But taking the risk that someone whose idea is not the norm, but who strives to help those that can’t help themselves is enough for me.  The pictures of children in sick beds, with tubes and monitors hooked to their hearts, hurts me.  Even when those pictures are accompanied with smiles and joy in eyes, they hurt my heart.  It is worth the risk to me.

Donate today. Donate tomorrow.  Set a reminder to yourself to donate each and every day.  Who cares if it is only five dollars?  Who cares if you send the money to someone not worthy? Do it anyway.  Send a child pajamas. Send a child a book.  Send a child a cape to make them feel like Superman.