Posts by Megan Schneider

A Different Way to Give…

The Holidays are upon us. We’ll sit down to a plentiful Thanksgiving dinner with our family and friends. We’ll shop for big sales at our favorite retail establishment or online. We’ll bake too many cookies for one household to possibly eat. We’ll forget to be thankful, we’ll buy things we don’t need, and we’ll throw out our excess without a thought.

My challenge to you, this holiday season, is to not do anything that doesn’t make you think: how has this helped someone? How has it made someone’s day? How can I alter my intrinsic actions to better a part of someone’s life?

Beza Threads helps to make those differences in someone’s life, and there’s more to it than just buying a scarf. The organization has no doubt made a name for itself in the Des Moines community, and it’s time to reach further.

Like you, I have a closet full of scarves. I’ve gifted them to as many family and friends as I can think of, and I’ve asked them to do the same. Under no circumstances do I need another scarf, but that’s not necessarily the point. It’s the easiest thing to do: choose a scarf, give your money, walk away. It helps, and Beza Threads is thankful, but what if you want to do more?

My husband recently enlightened me to a new way to give to a non-profit organization. (In the process, he also successfully justified his online shopping habit. Nice work, husband.) Amazon has launched a version of their e-commerce site called Amazon Smile, which gives 1% of every purchase you make to a charity of your choice. It might not seem like a lot, that 1%, but it’s a start, and it could consciously change your purchasing habits. If you have the option to spend your dollars through a website that gives back to your favorite charity, why wouldn’t you?

Amazon even redirects you if you go to their normal web address after you’ve selected a charity to contribute to through smile.amazon.com. Could they make this any easier? Sometimes it only takes small adjustments to our everyday lives to create change.

Another avenue to pursue is giving through your employer. Many companies will match a gift to a charity at a predetermined percentage. I would venture to say that this benefit goes unused more than it should. When you have a minute, take a look at your benefits package, or talk to your HR representative and see what your options are for philanthropy through your employer. Whether you give to Beza Threads, or another worthy non-profit organization, you know that your dollars will make a difference.

As we go into the jumble of the holiday season, take a minute to reflect on your spending habits, and the small alterations you can make that will make a big difference.

Ignorance. Idealism. Initiative.

Although I would like to consider myself an intelligent, informed individual, I have realized lately that many days go by where I don’t give a [serious] thought to things that don’t affect me. Me. Personally.

This is not to say that it is even possible for a human being to be completely selfless, but a lot of us have a long journey to embark upon.

As a part of the Beza Threads team, I’ve started a journey that I recently [just now, actually] coined the ‘Tri-I.’ It starts in Ignorance, winds its way through Idealism, and lingers a while around the Cape of Initiative. Bear with me.

ig·no·rant [ig-ner-uhnt]

Ignorance wears many hats. It doesn’t—or rather shouldn’t—always come with a negative connotation or be confused with the adjective ‘stupid.’ In definition, ignorant means ‘lacking knowledge or training; lacking knowledge or information as to a particular subject or fact.’

Prior to my involvement with Beza Threads, I had little to no interaction with sex slavery. I didn’t know how many women and children were involved against their will, or under the guise of making a better life for their families. I didn’t know that it existed to the level that it does in the United States. In our state.

This brings me to the Di-I:

i·de·al·ism  [ahy-dee-uh-liz-uhm]

I’ve been charged with this one my entire life. People describe it as ‘pie in the sky,’ ‘head in the clouds,’ or any other appendage and/or dessert in the atmosphere. Your choice. In actuality, it is defined as ‘the cherishing or pursuit of high or noble principles, purposes, goals, etc.’ I deem it as head in the sky with firm footing on the ground.

I would venture to guess that if you’re reading this blog, you have, at one point in your life uttered the statement ‘I want to make a difference.’ This doesn’t have to mean an all-encompassing global impact, but leaving your mark on your actually, very small, corner of the world.

The fact that a small group of inspired individuals—idealists I might add—are touching lives in Ethiopia, is incredible.

Last, but not least, the Tri of the I’s:

in·i·ti·a·tive [ih-nish-ee-uh-tiv, ih-nish-uh-]

Let’s cut to the chase. Initiative is ‘an introductory act or step; leading action; readiness and ability in initiating action.’

Initiative is the identification of ignorance and the embracing of idealism. It is seeing women and children in the streets of Ethiopia, who most just walk by, and having a heart for them. It is bringing that very real struggle back to Des Moines, Iowa and trying to get others involved in the fight.

Check us out. Buy a Scarf. Spread the Word. Discover your own Tri-I.