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Raising awareness of poverty in our communities - and how we can help...

Level 12

Today we're joining many others in a blog & social networking movement to raise awareness of poverty within our communities. It's too easy sometimes to let the drone of the cooling fans, the subtle gray of the subfloors, and the fluorescent lighting of our natural environments lull us into a state of unawareness. We forget that there exists a world outside of our geekdom, almost like a parallel dimension, where people have very real fears and needs that can't be expressed in binary. A place where obtaining the things we take for granted like food, clothing, and shelter are the primary objectives of any given day...

So, now that we've reminded ourselves that this other dimension exists and that within it there are people that need help, can we help? The short answer is an emphatic YES. There are many ways that we can help. A good first step is to assess which of these three things you can most easily give - time, money, or expertise. Once you've done that, look for opportunities that leverage your strengths - and be just a little bit selfish. Find something that you know that you'll enjoy doing. This might seem backwards, but if you can find a way to help that makes you feel good you're much more likely to continue helping long term.

Keeping all that in mind, in typical Head Geek fashion here's quick "Top 5 Ways for Geeks to Help with Poverty in the Community"

5. When you buy things, buy some for someone who can't. This is the easiest time for me to give. Whether I'm going through the grocery store and filling my cart with items for my own family and items to donate or going through the McDonald's drive thru and buying an extra value meal for the guy standing on the corner with a sign, this is an easy thing to do and you don't really notice the extra expense. Most grocery stores and even some department stores have a way that you can donate the items right there at the checkout stand.

4. Volunteer some time. Even if it isn't much, it's a good idea to get out from behind the keyboard and get some perspective every once and a while. Trust me, it makes life behind the keyboard a little more livable.

3. Don't just throw away that stuff you don't need anymore. Outgrown last years pants? Upgraded to a larger monitor or faster CPU? Well, don't just junk that stuff. Donate it - there's someone out there that really needs it. Here in Austin you can leverage this site to help.

2. Don't underestimate your potential. Do you realize how many elderly people there are out there that don't have access to the internet because the picked up a virus or some spyware and their computer hasn't been turned on since? Sometimes things that are super simple for us can have a dramatic impact on other people's lives.

1. Encourage your company to give back. People listen to us - we're the smart ones. Be a leader within this effort.

If you you have other ideas for ways that we can give back to the community and help to solve the poverty crisis that our country is in, please comment or post to me directly and I'll add it to the list for you.

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1 Comment

"Paying it forward", or silently demonstrating your own altruism, is a way to get a positive feeling of value of your self.  Too often folks have no clue what altruism even means, and I run into cases where people become puzzled and ask why they'd do something for someone else, or for society, without expecting any recompense for their time or labor or dollars.  They rhetorically ask if I think they're running a charity.

Maybe they should.