In early 2007 I was in the Army National Guard, returning from Afghanistan. After a full 16 month hiatus, I went back to my civilian job. That job included a 40 minute commute each way and I needed to fill that time with something. After bouncing around various news channels on SiriusXM for a year, I came upon a new show called Pete's Big Mouth. The show and the host were/are slanted to the left but didn't attempt to hide it. But independent of that, and most importantly, the show has always had a style that invites conversation, promotes education of the issues, challenges the listeners, and continues to lead by example.
Jumping ahead to 2016:
Since then, I've challenged myself to became educated and better aware of various topics. I've spent hours exploring new and different sources of information. Some of the "heavier" topics can be overwhelming - making me wish I had (several) degree(s) in history. And once I have information, how do I know I'm not in an echo-chamber trapped by the biases I've let myself be surrounded by? What do I do with the information?
Good question. I slowly and deliberately allow it to influence and change my sense of self. I spent years in a conservative area of the US. After that, college exposed me to a larger mix of backgrounds. In the Army National Guard it was a larger mix with a sprinkle of patriotism. I worked in several places in the US and now outside the US. Each one of these relationships was an opportunity to learn more about mself and the world, challenging those pre-conceived notions. Self-reflection is tiring!
Through various trials and errors, I've found a path that works for me and it's about damn time to find my own voice and do what I can to encourage others. Here are a few things that I've learned that might help you:
In the spirit of giving, for those not familar with him, I give you Dr. Aaron Carroll and his YouTube channel, Healthcare Triage. Dr. Carroll, was a guest on Pete's Big Mouth back in 2008 when I listened each day on my commute. He still slums it with Pete and the gang (Melanie, Alfred, Chris, Intern) as a regular guest on Stand Up! With Pete Dominick on SiriusXM.
It's time I finally stand up and give something back. This week I joined Patreon as the newest patreon to give a monthly donation to HealthCare Triage https://www.patreon.com/paulderson. Check them out and spread the word! I bet you'll find them educating and enlightening.
And learn more about Patreon! https://www.patreon.com/about
Earlier today a friend of mine mentioned that UberEats had a feature where you could send food to the homeless at any given time. I looked around as much as I could see and didn't find any way to do that on a regular basis. It looks like Uber has partnered with the Food Bank and others over time for specific days and shared giving, but nothing that I could see that makes it possible on a regular basis.
During some of my Googling, I also came across Unsung, which allows people to advertise extra food via the App and a Unsung volunteers pick and deliver the food - such a fantastic idea, but not available locally for me.
I was really hoping to use UberEats to deliver food to someone in need today, but instead I will be donating to the Food Bank. According to the World Bank the world-wide poverty is down. Additionally, the World Food Programe reports a reduction in hunger is also down (measured by undernourishment and the prevalence of underweight children under five years old). But we still have a long way to go.
My one little donation won't fix the problem, but educating my self and educating others can go a long way.
Side note: I got my first payment back from a Kiva.org loan this month. I'm excited to watch it come back so I can find another project to re-invest it in.