It’s time to get down to business, down to the nitty gritty, down to the actual hard work of sorting through the muck and taking action. We are answering the question, how much can you really do if you are chronically ill, disabled, or housebound? Can you still change the world? Can you still have an impact?
The foundation has been laid. If you are just checking in, take a look at part one where I review the book Overrated by Eugene Cho and lay the framework for everything that comes prior to actually putting an idea into full action. Before taking action to serve and pursue justice we take the time to pray, to plan and prepare, to become experts in the topic we wish to pursue, and to develop important qualities of perseverance and tenacity. We can easily see ways for those who are chronically ill, disabled, or housebound to take these initial steps. And then we get to the action part, and this is where we get a little bit stumped.
As I think through this topic, and I’m still in the beginning stages, I’m excited at the number of options I am seeing and discovering that are accessible to individuals of all mobility levels. I am inspired by the number of individuals online I have found who are doing so much, making a huge difference in the mist of their own hurt and pain. And I am excited by the number of opportunities I am finding, even as I do basic and cursory online searches. Here are my initial ideas, with much room to grow!
Writing, Connecting, & Building Online Community – This is what many of us are already doing. Through writing, blogging, social networking, and interacting in various groups we are supporting others by letting them know they are not alone and dispensing helpful and necessary ideas and advice. We are providing necessary support, encouragement, and community for each other, as we are all in the same boat. We all understand one another, and we all seem to find ourselves in the same place at some point during the day: sitting in our houses with our computers, heating pads, and hot beverage. Ideas really can change the world. So write that blog post or start that book. Send that encouraging comment and connect with that random person online who seems just like you even if it seems weird. It all begins here, because as we network and connect, we all collaborate together on everything that comes next.
Supporting Those on the Front Lines – At times we will be much more helpful in behind the scene roles, supporting others who are on the front lines doing the work of change. We all have the capability to be supporters, encouragers, noticers, prayer warriors, listeners, and cheerleaders. And these roles are needed, as life on the front lines is tough, isolating, and oftentimes demoralizing. Who do you know that you could send a letter, package, email, note, or listening ear? What missionaries, leaders, teachers, organizers, support workers, or organizers do you know who could use your support? In addition to emotional support, some of us have the ability to support others financially. And this is where our research comes in handy. We spend the time to know where to donate, places that are using the money wisely, effectively, and for the good of those they seek to serve. Here are three places to support financially.
Kiva – Loans that Change Lives – “Empowering people around the world with a 25$ loan.”
The Fistula Foundation – “We are dedicated to ending the suffering caused by the childbirth injury of obstetric fistula. We believe that no woman should have to suffer a life of shame and isolation for trying to bring a child into the world.”
One Days Wages – “One Day’s Wages (ODW) is a grassroots movement of people, stories, and actions to alleviate extreme global poverty.”
Creating & Art – This is not my area of expertise, but I have observed so many others creating art and making things with their hands. At times this creates an income to help support their families or various causes. Other times it serves to encourage, inspire, describe the human experience and let others feel they are not alone. If you are an artist, consider submitting to one of these websites or find inspiration to create your own.
Broken Light: A Photography Collective – “Broken Light’s main goal is to create a safe and accepting environment where photographers of all levels who are affected by mental health issues can display their work, as well as inspire one another to keep going and keep creating, despite the dark or scary places in which they may find themselves.”
The Pain Exhibit – “The mission is to educate healthcare providers and the public about chronic pain through art and to give a voice to the many who suffer in silence.”
Volunteering Online – There are a surprising number of websites that connect individuals with online volunteering opportunities on a national and global level. Various organizations including non-profits, NGOs, small businesses, and various ministries post their needs and get connected with experts. Opportunities include writing and editing, graphic design, grant writing, legal advice, business, crisis and hotline support, and much more.
Bring your Work Home – This takes volunteering online a step forward. It goes a step beyond searching a website for volunteer opportunities and creates a business, ministry, or service at home. Personally, my ultimate end goal and hope is to offer counseling services out of a home office. Others ideas that come to mind include providing childcare, hosting and leading a support group, mentoring someone in your home, or creating things with your hand that others might need. I am sure there are countless other opportunities that are not coming to mind, and this is why I need your help!
Eventually, I plan to take the information in this post and create a page dedicated to various opportunities that are available for individuals who have mobility and health limitations.
But, seriously, I need your help. I need your ideas, resources, talents, and brilliance.
What have you done to use your talent and resources from the bounds of your own home? I might want to share your story or website or services.
What organizations, websites, shops, business, or opportunities have peaked your interest that could be shared with others? I might want to add them to my list.
What stories have you heard, what art have you seen, what great ideas that might possibly fit into these or other categories have you found? I want to hear your ideas!
Please share in the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
**Update – If you enjoyed this post, consider joining our facebook group for chronically fabulous people who want to change the world.