It's #GivingTuesday ... which means it is a day for non-profit fundraising efforts. I know I'll be barraged with requests and that has me thinking about who I give to, when I give to them, how I give to them and of course, why I give to them.
Let me start with the American Cancer Society (ACS): I am a two-time breast cancer survivor. When I was first diagnosed with cancer in 2003, two of my three children were babies, and I was completely freaked out about my diagnosis. Within the first 24 hours, before I'd sleuthed out a support group or met with a social worker at the hospital, or seen a nurse in my doctors office, I called the ACS hotline and spoke to someone who talked me off the ledge. She coached me in the ways I could talk to my children about cancer so as not to scare them. She pointed me towards ACS resources to help (a coloring book that helps kids process their feelings).
I give to the ACS because I was SERVED.
Since that day, my mother battled cancer, my sister-in-law battled cancer and a few too many mothers I know lost their battle with cancer. I'm currently figuring out how to deal with the pre-cancer cells that now appear on the epithelial lining of my vagina. I HATE cancer cells and I want them eradicated. So I donate to the ACS. I've been a volunteer speaker for The Society, I've been a Team Captain for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks, I've helped my children as Team Captains for Relay for Life events. I give time and money because, quite frankly, they were there for me when I needed them most and they work hard to find breakthrough cancer treatments.
Now, let me tell you about the Creative Education Foundation (CEF): In 1994, I attended the Creative Problem Solving Institute (CPSI) at the University of Buffalo -- CEF's annual, international conference -- and had my mind blown. I was in my early twenties and found myself surrounded by people who were innovative thinkers, who led change, who recognized that creativity is a skill that can be taught not just a talent that people possess. Thanks to CEF, I learned that anyone can apply their imagination and deliberately approach life's challenges in such a way that novel ideas arise and solutions are doable. I started facilitating creative problem solving (CPS) as part of my work. I started using CPS in my life.
I give to CEF because I was CHANGED.
Since that year, I've been to CPSI 12 times. I'm 'on the faculty' as they say, voluntarily leading core workshops for CEF on Creative Problem Solving as a methodology and a facilitation tool. I've also brought all three of my kids to CPSI. One of my sons received a CEF Scholarship to attend CPSI's Youthwise program for the first time -- he's been every year since and is heading to college next year with a strong foundation in skills like creative thinking, innovation and applied improv. To date, all three of my children have participated in the Youthwise program (that's actually one of my boys on the landing page that link brings you to). CEF's mission is to spark personal and professional transformation by empowering people with the skill set, tool set, and mindset of deliberate creativity.