I’ve been playing around with my template and background for the blog all day! My apologies¬†if it’s been different every time you’ve looked at it for the past few days! ūüôā I’ve changed the background, template, images etc. at least¬†3 times this week, only to end up changing it back to the original theme.¬†I¬†just can’t seem to find anything I like!

One little addition you will notice though, is my lovely SocialVibe badge on the right. SocialVibe is an organization that partners with different charities to raise money for them by putting these badges on the site and hoping they receive clicks from site viewers. Basically, how it works is you (the visitor) will click the badge. A screen will then open up asking you to complete an activity (anywhere from a survey question to a game of some sort) completely free of charge to you. For every activity you complete from clicking on my badge, I receive 100 points to be converted into charity donations. I just did four activities and it took me about 3 minutes.

What is Charity:Water? I’m going to be changing up the badge every¬†few months because I don’t like representing one charity exclusively, but for now I’ve chosen Charity:Water. This is an amazing organization that was brought to my attention in a few ways.¬†Charity:Water provides¬†clean drinking water for many developing countries in¬†need (Central African Republic, Haiti, Ethiopia) through drilling and installation of manageable clean water wells as well as delivery of clean drinking water.

I first heard of Charity:Water from a friend who attended their Annual¬†Ball last weekend because her roommate gave up/pledged her¬†21st birthday to raise money for the organization. The power of America’s youth adults. I was really interested to find out more about it just from talking to her and looking at pictures. The next night, I happened to be watching the 20/20 special Be¬†the Change: Save a Life¬†and what was¬†one of the charities they were¬†featuring? Charity:Water. I love¬†when that happens! As my mom and I were watching the amazing organizations¬†they were showcasing, we decided that next year we want to give up our birthdays, or¬†donate in the name of family members¬†for Christmas gifts. There is so much need out there. And here. I don’t want to make it seem like I don’t care about our¬†own country. There is just something that draws me to the international realm.

Those of you¬†who know me personally, know that¬†I have always been about volunteerism, giving, anything of that nature. What you might not know, is that I have¬†faced one¬†of the toughest decisions I’ve ever had to make because of this intense passion.

On January 12, 2010, an earthquake struck¬†Port Au Prince, Haiti. I had friends who were boarding a flight that day to make a mission trip to an¬†orphanage in the town of Duverger.¬†The orphanage had not¬†fully¬†opened yet.¬†In fact, at the time, there was only one child living there.¬†In a¬†Grace most fitting with this mission, the orphanage was relatively¬†untouched by the earthquake, but immediately saw an influx of close to 100 orphans because of this terrible natural disaster. They were not ready to open, but there was no other choice. My friends did not end up boarding their flight to Haiti, as all commercial flights were immediately shut down. Like so many of us, my heart ached for those people and for those children. I found myself unknowingly ending up on CNN and¬†other news¬†channels while trying to write papers, and I constantly had my e-mail open waiting for updates from the individuals who live in Haiti permanently.¬†I felt like my body was here, but my heart had gone to Haiti. When commercial flights opened back up in March of last year, I was approached with the offer of the last plane ticket in the group to travel for a weeklong¬†mission. My heart was overjoyed. But¬†I knew this¬†wasn’t a decision to enter into lightly. I thought and thought, prayed and prayed. My parent’s weren’t really sold on the idea for fear of aftershocks, not to mention accessibility in a developing country.¬†(Sidenote: Do any of my bloggers know anything about this/mission work, etc.?) The more I prayed,¬†the more torn I became. Though my heart wanted to go to Haiti, I knew I wasn’t going to. It wasn’t where the Path was leading.¬†

It was a tough decision to turn down that offer, and even tougher when it came time to see everyone’s photos from the trip and hear amazing stories of love, hope, and the power of the human spirit,¬†but my mission was, and is currently, to be here. Serving others the way I serve; the way I was made to. It is my hope that this simple act of a Charity:Water badge can be just a small part of that.

Thanks for listening.