A huge part of our project is about social awareness–we have to get the word out there. People need to know about these kids that are in need and, just as much, people need to know what we are doing so that they can help us. And that’s the use that we have been putting all this social media to– Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, etc. All this, as far as I can tell, has certainly had a positive effect. But, this past week I was thinking about some other routes that this kind of awareness can take.
I play in the campus concert Band here at USF, a group of people that aren’t playing music as part of their degree-just for fun. Well, at last week’s rehearsal, I was pretty surprised (ok, not just pretty surprised) when someone got up on the podium as we were all warming up and made an announcement about this project! Someone I didn’t recognize at all. Now it turns out that she is the sister of someone that I do know and is involved in our work–Kryssa. But the point was, that I had been missing out on the opportunity that she took. Here I am part of this group, this community that knows me (for some as the bari sax player rather than as Patrick) and I hadn’t taken advantage of this connection that I had to spread the awareness that we all need to have.
Since then I’ve talked to Kryssa’s sister, and while we didn’t manage to capitalize on our concert yesterday, we are making use of the community that we are part of. And this is a great way to get the word out. After I realized the chance that I’d been letting pass me by, I thought about other communities I’m part of that would support me, and my project. For the last few semesters I’ve been a fairly regular patron of the local tea lounge, Kaleisia. It’s just down the street from USF, and it’s a great place to study, hang out, drink tea, and meet people. In fact, at one point I was there at about the same time every Thursday night for about two months. Well, realizing that this is another community that I belong to (even if it’s just once a week) I sent a note to the folks over there, and they had just the response I had hoped for. They not only offered to host an event, but they even offered their own social networks and community as a way to broadcast what we do.
The point is, that when you tell your friends about what we’re doing–that there are kids in Afghanistan that need school supplies, and that you can help them, don’t forget that those friend have their own communities within communities and resources within resources. If someone wants to help, they should give some school supplies, and spread the word.