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In the small...

I've heard different people talk about large scale projects and ask questions about how to make lasting, impactful change. They sometimes will make a side comment about how they don't want to make a "small" effort - that "small" efforts won't really do anything. It gets compared to trying to shovel a beach with a spoon.

But I'm going to rail against this notion that small efforts don't do anything. We may or may not perceive the difference that a small effort makes - but I believe that small efforts may have more impact. Why are we obsessed with "seeing" the big thing, seeing something huge happen? I included myself in that because I think sometimes I get into that line of thinking as well - thinking that small efforts I make are not worth my time because it might not have enough impact. Like a tiny pebble with its ripple effects.

Or maybe I'm just defending it because my life is small. My efforts towards anything are small. The impact I have is small. But I don't want to feel useless or feel like my time on earth is wasted. And even with the small efforts and things that I do - I see change. I see things shift. And I think that is just as worthwhile.

Brad and I have been volunteering on and off for 10 years with the same organization called Kids Club. It's only on Saturdays for 2 hours. Sometimes there would be extra field trips and things, but mostly a couple hours a week. A couple months ago, we had the pleasure of sitting down to lunch with one of the kids who was part of the program 10 years ago. He's now in college, on a scholarship and has an incredibly exciting future ahead of him. Were we responsible for him getting there? No, but I'd like to believe that small effort we were part of helped him get there. He said the greatest thing that kept him going was "hope". Hope that there was something better out there, that he could pull himself out of poverty, that he could do better. He did.

My friend Marny and I started a Social Justice Book Club because we felt like in the midst of what was happening in our communities around us like senseless police violence, racism, and low/no accountability for rapists who are caught - we wanted to have a place in our community where we educated ourselves, and became more active standing against injustices. It's only about 12 people strong - but I believe that each meeting we have is going to bring a larger impact.

So let's not discount the "small" things we do. I'd rather have a lifetime of small impact than one moment of a large effort. Something about the consistency and continual work makes me proud to be a part of it.

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Veronica Reyes-How

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