. . .I made a promise to myself that as long as I had anything in me to give, I would keep giving. And I have been doing my best to keep that promise since returning from my YCI project in Tanzania. I sit on the board of directors for a youth and family service centre in Brampton, I help anyone I can with fundraisers that come across my path and–near and dear to my heart–I give to Youth Challenge International.
My experience working in East Africa with YCI was one that I will not soon forget. It was beautiful, it was really difficult, but most of all, it was rewarding. Seeing firsthand the kind of work that a grassroots organization can do, seeing the kind of lasting impact that changes so small can make, seeing the faces of the people that we were working with, made me more convinced than ever that one person really can change the world. We changed the world with each small piece of the puzzle that we put into place, and I know that each person after us has, and will do, the same. I want to continue playing a role in this change.
Last year, when the opportunity to hike Mount Kilimanjaro came up, I knew that it would be a great time give more and to raise awareness and funds for YCI’s Tanzanian projects. It only made sense, I mean–I was returning to the country that I fell in love with while there with YCI. I had to do something good while I was there.
I launched my campaign “Kili for a Cause,” putting the plea out to my extended network via Facebook, emailing lists and any means necessary to ask for $5 from each person that I could. I had a friend help organize a fundraising concert, asked for some corporate sponsors, and after a few short weeks we had raised $1500 based around my hike up the mountain. Along the way, I introduced people to YCI who had never heard of the organization, and hopefully inspired people to do more as well. Standing at the top of that mountain, looking at the world beneath me, I knew that it was all worth it.
I have always dreamed about giving back through my favorite hobby, music. When I was inspired to write the song “Strong Enough,” I knew that I had to use this song to do something good. When one of the artists involved in the project suggested that we use the proceeds to help the relief efforts for the recent disaster in Haiti, my first thought was YCI. I know that their programs work and I know that my money, and the money of my supporters, really does make a difference. And so, 99 cents at a time, we started supporting “Hands Up for Haiti.”
So far the response has been tremendous and we can’t wait to see where it goes from here. I don’t know what’s coming next for me, where my next big adventure or project will take me, but I do know this: I’m Strong Enough to inspire people, I’m Strong Enough to move the world, I’m Strong Enough to make a difference, and I know that I can do so for Youth Challenge International.
To buy Strong Enough, head to http://shop.lvproof.com/Strong-Enough-Rosa-ft-Jah-Chosen-102.htm.
-Rosana Filipe, YCI Volunteer, Tanzania 2007