Today, our class met with the first group of USF Honors students to raise funds and supplies for School Supplies for Afghanistan. Hearing the way they spoke and the advice that they offered gave me the impression that they were pros. They told us to “dream big,” to not get discouraged, and provided us with insights on their own experiences. The session really gave me the extra boost I needed to keep going.
I always planned on visiting local office supply stores with donor letters, talking to their managers, and asking for a small donation. I decided today was the day I was “not going to be afraid to ask,” like the past group had advised.
I went to the computer lab on campus and printed up a few donor letters I could provide the companies with. As I picked them up from the printer, I realized the word document formatted the letter on one page followed by a blank sheet of paper. I usually get frustrated when I make this error. Essentially, it means I wasted one of the 22 free prints
I get per day. As a scanned the room fro a recycling bin to throw the extra sheets in I realized I should keep them and add them to my pile. It would take much to punch holes in the blank sheets and place them in a binder and it would provide the children in Afghanistan a better place to write their notes than the sand. It took an extra glance and I came up with a simple solution and addition to the donations.
I took a few minutes before leaving campus and mapped out a plan for the order of stores I was going to visit. This made it so simple for me to add on to my route from campus to my apartment, and the time spent going from place to place was a small investment compared to what I was about to gain.
There were a few stores that would have to get back to me or their managers were unavailable, but one store manager looked me in the eye after a few minutes of speaking and filled a bag with supplies for me. We spoke about logistics and I was on my way. It took just a little extra effort and I found success.
It made me start to think, if I just started to give everything a second glance – to pause and take a breath in situations – I am sure I could find supplies everywhere. Because I got my sorority involved in the task, I have friends that will randomly walk up to me and hand me a pen or pencil. I’ll sometimes give a questioning look and soon after realize they are providing to the cause. People will look at me and day, “Remind me to bring those supplies I have to you this week!” One look at me and their minds immediately think of school supplies.
Whether it’s the three pens I picked up that were given to me in my hotel room when I was traveling last weekend, the few sheets of clean extra paper I had printed, or the stock pile of free pens I have in my desk drawer, it only takes one extra thought to turn a pen into an opportunity for a better life.