If at first we don’t succeed…

A picture of the 12 students undertaking our project, "One Pencil Can Help Bring Peace." Accompanying the students are the dean and assistant dean of the Honors College (Photo by Liisa Temple)

Twelve unique individuals, striving toward the same goal: 120 boxes, 10 per person, whichever you prefer. A once overwhelming and daunting bar to clear, now no longer seems like such an Olympic feat. But though our actions seem sparse and isolated, our project is nevertheless a team effort.

What have I done for the team so far? I have listed each of my efforts below.

Towards the goal of ten boxes
To my classmates – or teammates, perhaps, to continue the above analogy – I am most known for the establishment of a drop off box in Brandon, where I have already received donations from several generous people. On Monday morning I was able to pick up the boxes that would eventually ship these donations to the Afghan children in dire need of these supplies (though I forgot to pick up customs forms), and I was able to completely fill two boxes; this does not include the six backpacks I have also received.

Indeed, I realize I would only need to fill eight more boxes until I reach my goal, but I don’t intend on stopping there – why aim for the moon when you can reach the stars?

Towards shipping the ten boxes
Last week I contacted my old choir director from my local church, and via email I explained our project and its goals to him. I’d asked him to forward the email onward to the other choir members, and thought it’d taken him a few days to get to, he’d complied with my request. But not even twenty-four hours later, while attending mass, a woman from my choir approached me and gave me a donation sponsoring the shipping costs of three boxes!

Additionally, I have received responses from several other individuals pledging their support, one of whom being my mother, who has promised to sponsor the shipping costs of an additional 2-3 boxes. I’m not embarrassed in the slightest to say that my mom’s own enthusiasm for my project has been a big help for me. She’s spread word of our project via email to her own networks on my behalf, and as a result, a few of her colleagues have also responded positively. Though I am unsure as to the extent of her efforts as of now, any small bit helps.

A box fellow classmate Zazu has decorated as an example for her project at Freedom High School. (Photo by Arántzazu Gárate)

Towards supporting my classmates’ efforts
A lot of my efforts towards our goal are contained to my presence on the Internet, as I consider myself to be a much better writer than a speaker. One of these efforts involves having emailed several of my old high school teachers. Several of my classmates, Zazu and Zoe, have initiated their project at our old high school, and though I haven’t heard back from any of my teachers yet, I have confidence that word of my classmates’ efforts will reach them and that they will be willing to help Zazu and Zoe out.

Towards anything else we might require
Throughout the course of the past week, I submitted a press release to several news websites, several times, including CNN.com – no responses, only confirmation emails of having received my submissions. I tweeted news producers and supervisors, as well as a few well known figures who my professor and I thought might support our project – no response. I pitched our project to my local church (I had already emailed my choir director, but I envisioned getting my whole church involved, which would greatly increased the magnitude of our project’s effectiveness), but I have also not yet received a response from them either.

Additionally, I submitted a proposal through Scotch Brand’s website asking for donations of rolls of packaging tape (a costly resource in addition to having to ship all our boxes), but my proposal had been politely denied.

In conclusion to my activities from the past week
Admittedly, Scotch Brand’s decline had hit me pretty hard, as it’d been my first ‘failed’ effort – not including the numerous lack of responses. But no failure is in vain – We learn from our mistakes. Failure merely gives us a reason to try, try again.

Though we aren’t even at the halfway point yet, it already feels like time is running out. Still, though we’ve accomplished much, there are plenty of opportunities out there still ready for the taking.

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About Justin Doromal

I am a student at the University of South Florida majoring in Mathematics, with a side interest in educational improvement and pedagogy. I am literate in French, though not necessarily fluent, and in my free time I like indulging in Korean pop music culture.
This entry was posted in Afghanistan, Awareness campaigns, Education, Social media, USF Honors College and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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