5 Ripple Making Steps to Liberate a Life


“Throw a pebble in the water and make a wave. A simple act of kindness can stir the widest ocean.” Demi Lovato, Make a Wave

A year ago, I wrote a check to support the care of  an orphan child. For only $35, an orphan receives meals, housing, education, and healthcare. As I sealed the envelope, my daughter asked me why we were only helping the orphan for one month. I was stunned in silence – I didn’t have an answer for her.

My young daughter, at 5 years-old, has the heart of a giver, unchained by budgets and Christmas shopping lists. I regret that it took me another year to discover how to give money to an orphaned child on a more regular basis.

What is my hesitation? I struggle to realize the power we have in a small act of kindness. I focus more on liberating myself. I get lost in all the great causes. But, what if I can find a way to sustain my giving?

I have discovered how to take small steps to liberate a child in need – Discover, Include, Invite, Enjoy, and Know.

Step One – Discover a charity that ignites your passion:

For my daughter, it is orphan children. She cannot bear the thought that some children don’t have parents to care for them. For my husband, it is families who lost a loved one while serving their country or community. And for me, it is children and women who are forced into labor or sexual exploitation.

After watching the movie Taken, I was outraged that young women were coerced, drugged, and defrauded to sell their bodies for others’ pleasure. I know the movie isn’t based on a true story, yet I knew there had to be some truth hidden in the movie’s message. I investigated the truth, and found some startling facts about modern day slavery.

My passion was ignited. And, I briefly considered changing my career to become an international, law enforcing, slave busting, crime fighter. Instead, I decided to find a way to make a ripple in this problem.

Step 2 – Include the cause in your monthly budget:

Once you have discovered your passion, the next step is to find an organization that competently addresses the problem you want to help. For me, the organization is Love 146, who’s mission is to abolish sex slavery through prevention and aftercare.

I can help a child liberate themselves from human trafficking with one small step. My donation is automatically withdrawn from my checking account each month. What did I give up? Going out to dinner one less time? I don’t know, as I don’t miss whatever I gave up.

Step 3 – Invite your kids to get involved:

As my family is growing, so are the passions that ignite us. How do we find a way to help more than one child in our family? I don’t want to be in silence anymore. I want to include my daughter in the giving process. If I simply write another check, she misses out on making her ripple.

I am borrowing this idea from another ripple maker, Catherine Newman. I read about her collection jar in Family Fun Magazine this month. Catherine shares how her family puts money in a jar for their charity whenever they go with out. At my house, we are just getting started, giving up an extra movie, bag of popcorn, and portions of allowances. I’m excited to watch the giving process grow, as we are all more mindful of what we could give up so someone could have more choices.

Step 4 – Enjoy your life guilt-free:

While we are making these small choices each day, be sure to care for yourself and your family’s needs too. Still do what is important to you and your family.

Even though I am more aware of our giving challenge, I want to give out of joy and passion, not guilt.   As a result, I am more grateful for the small things and realize I don’t need all the big things.

Step 5 – Know that you are making a difference:

Remember, it doesn’t matter how big or small your donation of time or treasure, it all matters. In our family, we are working on making room for all of our passions, instead of choosing one charity.

And, when I think about how our family can now give two children (other than our own) more choices in their life, I am amazed once again by the liberating power of choices. When two, passion honoring people come together with two great organizations (Love 146 and Samaritan’s Purse), our small choices can create big changes.

I no longer hesitate in silence. I am excited to watch our giving grow, as I have many more ripple making steps to take.

“Your tears are my prayers.” – Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love

What passion ignites you to make ripples? Share links to organizations that liberate others from ocean-sized problems.

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Photo Credit: AussieGall

19 responses to “5 Ripple Making Steps to Liberate a Life

  1. Hey Marci, lovely story and sentiment about giving and ripple making. I’d like to add a ripple and share a link to the girl effect — an organization working to education and change the lives of girls around the world http://www.girleffect.org/question
    Thank you for joining the voices looking to change the situation for girls and boys around the worlds. Much love.

    • Thank you for sharing another great organization. It was your post that inspired me to write my own version. I had this story in me for a long time, but I hadn’t thought about posting it. I loved writing this post.

  2. Marci, the love you felt while writing this post really comes across to me. It’s a lovely post that takes an important look at how we can all give in small ways in order to make big changes in our world. I especially like your thought on guilt and giving.

    One of my favorite charity organizations is ThistleFarms.org , which serves and funds the Magdalene House, a two-residency program for women who have survived violence, prostitution, and drug abuse. Thistle Farms makes bath and body products and employs the women of Magdalene, teaching them skills in manufacturing, packaging, marketing, etc, and giving them an opportunity to help themselves and others.

    Thanks for sharing such a thoughtful post!

    • Thank you Ami for sharing your response and cool organization. Thistle Farms sounds like a great organization – to give women the opportunity to help themselves – love it! Is it a local organization in your community?

      And, yes, I was “in love” with writing this post. My daughter continues to teach me about giving. Tonight I gave her a choice between orphans and poverty, and she said “I think both.” Of course, why give such a silly choice. We’ll find a way to do both. Why didn’t I think of that?!

  3. Hi Merci, Your story moved me. I have never thought about regularly giving to charity. I always pity the poor people around and sometimes give them money but charity of regular basis is something I have never thought about. After reading your post, I am surely going to contribute some amount of my earnings to a online charity.
    Do you know a good charity that accepts online donations(preferably via PayPal) and is related to illiterate children?

    • Ishan, Thank you for visiting my blog. I thrilled that my story inspired you to find your own charity to give to. I don’t know of one that is specifically for illiterate children. Try charitywatch.org – it is an organization that helps people make informed choices.

      Or, see Katie’s post, as she mentions a group who focuses on education for girls (Girl Effect). I only know of groups that focus on all the child’s needs, but I imagine their is a group/charity for almost every need we can imagine. Post again when you find one, okay?

      • I am still searching for a group but for now, I think I will just help people around me.
        Just donated a small amount to flood victims and I am feeling a lot happier now.
        I think God also helps you when you help others. I am strong believer and can only say that after donating, I saw 2 immediate wonders that may have changed my whole life!

  4. Hi Marci,
    What a great post! I just saw your name at AList Bloggers and thought I’d come visit. Your blog has a great look, too. I’ll continue reading it!

  5. Marci, I came to your website directly from the Forum at the A-List Blogger’s Club and I have to say, your concept and post are very timely for me. We are a childless couple and are currently in the process of determining what should happen to what we have (not a huge amount but the result of hard work) if we are both wiped out (every time we step on an airplane together we sort of cringe because we have not worked this out yet to our mutual satisfaction). One thing we know for sure: a portion needs to go to some good organizations. So your input here is the sort of thing I need to be looking at. Grazie. 🙂

    • Thank you for visiting Diana. I know there are many places who would love for you to leave your legacy behind with planned giving. See you in the forums.

  6. Marci, this is a great post! I saw your blog at Alist Bloggers, too, and read this post in the forum.
    I agree with you 100%, sometimes people say that giving to charity is just a drop in the ocean and won’t make a difference to the world…well, we may not change the entire world, but we’re certainly making a difference in someone’s life! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  7. Thank you Cristina for your kind words. I can see how it makes a difference when a little money goes a long way in other countries. It’s also making a difference in my life and my kids to be more aware of how we can help.

  8. Such a timely reminder, especially with christmas round the corner. Our children are our teachers, I love how you listened to your daughter and expanded your thinking/giving…I recently stopped my monthly donation to Centrepoint (Charity in UK which provides safe housing for street children/young people) as I thought I couldnt “afford it”….but I can and will reinstate my monthly contribution. Thanks for the reminder. Peace Nx

  9. Hi Marci,
    Would you like to write a guest post for my blog? I found you in the Alist Blogging Club. I have an MA in counseling psychology. In my other life I had a private practice;) If so take a look around my blog and decide what you’d like to contribute. Send it over.

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