Leader of the Month: Ben Colas
Posted on 26 January 2018
There’s a few tips I’d offer someone looking to make a difference.
- Think micro: A city like Cleveland has no shortage of challenges-poverty, crime, failing schools, drugs, etc. To look at these on a macro-level can be intimidating and overwhelming. It can be easy to think "there's too many problems, it's not possible to make a difference," or "even if I _____ (help someone read, mentor a kid, serve at a soup kitchen, etc) it doesn't change the structural issues they're facing." To quote Ronald Reagan, "we can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone." It's been said that "all great change begins at the dinner table." Rather than trying to change the world and be everything to everyone. You'd be far more effective finding your niche and focus on serving well.
- Commit to something and act: it can be so easy to get caught up in the busyness of life or the day to day routines that you neglect to get involved in the community. The fact of the matter is, if you aren’t intentional in committing to something, you won’t do it. Planning and committing will prevent you from using emails to catch up on, shows to watch, social media posts to read, etc as excuses. You may have an ideal position or capacity you’d love to volunteer in. More likely than not, you’ll have to prove yourself first and to get to that point, you’ll need to commit and act (consistently).
- Be informed: A city like Cleveland has all the amenities of a big-city with the down-to-earth, small town friendliness and accessibility. Don't be afraid to reach out to people and ask them if you can get coffee and pick their brain. Opportunities to make a difference don't just fall into your lap. They require being intentional, aware, and informed. The advice and insights of those wiser and more experienced will be super helpful in discovering new opportunities to get involved and getting connected with those who would be great to support