As long as it is relevant to build short, medium and long term plans for our lives, both personally and professionally (and Mind Maps will help with this in amazing ways), using New Year or any particular date to- supposedly- start building those plans, may be actually irrelevant or not so serious. Just a “New Year’s resolutions” social routine, with little or no impact.
A recent meeting I attended put back into the map the fact that , among all of the western cultures of today, americans are the ones who have littlest or no interest in getting involve with their own communities. This sounds harsh and some would say, uncalled for, since we will quickly find examples of the opposite among ourselves, but numbers in big picture format are just saying this, over and over, as years go passing by. If you just consider the last Congressional elections as a reference, citizens in the US are not even voting. People are letting others decide for themselves and showing little care for democracy.….
No doubt, this should change for good!!
Well, here’s two great suggestions to streamline the efforts for everyone who feels they might get more involved, as part of their new and realistic life plans:
Join the Creative Mornings meetings and the Volunteer Match Organization.
1- THE CREATIVE MORNINGS
It is basically a breakfast lecture series for the creative community. You will find everything you want to know about the Creative Mornings in the website
but I want to stress the relevance of these meetings, as they are currently happening in over 100 cities worldwide.
For those of you in the USA, it may be quite easy to find one in your own area, and then joining your local group and attending the once-a-month meetings is all for free., and also include a healthy breakfast plus coffee and tea.
What Creative Mornings has managed to do, is to put on the spotlight those individuals, groups and organizations that are doing amazing work in your city, and the meetings usually put together over 100 people from different professions, from artist to architects to designers, to advertisers, to non profits and musicians, all together in one place, and the most exciting part is, most everyone attending has the same curiosity and aspirations: to see their own city bloom and get better, both socially, economically, culturally, aesthetically, sustainable, etc, so, the networking opportunities can not be any better, as most everyone attending share several common goals and interests.
Here in Miami the latest presentations have all been fantastic: Having Howard Herring , President and CEO of the New World Symphony America’s Orchestral Academy, talking about “Crossover Technologies”, having photographer Robin Hill talking about “Chance”, bringing back some of the spirituality and mindfulness into our life and professions, and having Gillian Thomas, the british lady in charge of putting together several large-scale Science Museums across the globe, currently finishing the one in Miami, talking about “Education”, have been enlightening to say the least, and have become a true indicator of how fast Miami will become a mature city, faster than any other young city in the US.
So look for the Chapter of Creative Mornings near you, and start the year with a real punch! Getting involved could mean the start of new projects and businesses right there!
•2- THE VOLUNTEER MATCH ORGANIZATION:
This fantastic idea has become THE website to visit, and explore the very many opportunities available to contribute/donate your time and your skills to non-profit organizations that need it. It has become a hub, where you will find where, how and when can you do volunteer work for the groups that matter to you, in your own area.
Again, there is ample evidence that americans are less likely to volunteer their time and work compared to citizens of other countries. There is little interest in getting involved with their communities, and then, even if it could be previously argued that finding opportunities to volunteer could be difficult, now, it is a breeze to locate those opportunities, thanks to the site
The sites does just that: matching the needs of Non profits, and by that I mean, museums, libraries,Hospitals, Schools, and many other groups, to the talents available, who kindly express their intention to help. It is a fine match, as anyone can read in detail what is needed, what is required by each group/organization, and then you respond to the requests, so you can select exactly the positions and jobs that clearly matches your skills and good intentions.
Here in Miami, I recently registered for a request to make portraits of families and individuals arriving to the USA as refugees, people suffering from serious distress back in their countries of origin, who are accepted to stay in the USA. The following project I took is to document local blues musicians, in an effort to keep the local Blues movement alive, something that I find very cool, as I love blues anyways!!
Creatives from all areas will find interesting opportunities to volunteer, since several groups need things like marketing plans, advertising strategies,Social Media Campaigns, Graphic Design,etc,etc, so many, from students to seasoned professionals, can put their creative fire into building something cool for society.
Volunteer Match also works wonders for teenagers, so you can get your kids and neighbors involved in community efforts since early on, so we can all contribute, in a very creative way, to change those ugly stats about us being indifferent to our communities.
You can also find relevant info about Volunteer Match in Linkedin:
So here you have two great proposals to improve your talents as both Entrepreneur and Creative. Get involved!
About the author: Jorge Parra is an Advertising, Fashion and Portrait photographer based in Miami, FL, who also contributes his visual skills to different non-profit groups, including Volunteer Match, throughout the year. You can find more info in Jorge Parra’s Linkedin Profile, and even more about Jorge’s photographic projects in The Visual Hub.