This past fall the folks at TechSoup asked me if I would help judge their annual Storymakers contest. I truly admire TechSoup as an organization and appreciate the resources they provide for the nonprofit sector, so I happily volunteered to help judge this contest. It sounded like fun, and I was sure it would be interesting.
And then I forgot about it.
A month or two went by. And one day I received an email with the criteria for judging the contestants, and links to 15 videos that I needed to watch and judge. I set aside a block of time to do this work, sitting down one morning, coffee in hand, to review these submissions.
“Review these submissions.” That’s how I was thinking about these 15 stories when I started. It is not how I thought about them when I finished.
Some of the stories made me laugh. Some made me cry. But they all gave me hope. Hope that in this time of darkness throughout the world there are individual souls out there doing good work against all odds.
According to scientists, the bumblebee's body is too heavy and its wingspan too small. Aerodynamically, the bumblebee cannot fly. But the bumblebee doesn't know that and it keeps flying.
That’s what these 15 groups, and all of you working at nonprofit organizations, represent to me. Tens of thousands of bumblebees changing the world for the better, completely unaware of your limitations.
The Indomitable Human Spirit
I have always been enamored with Dr. Jane Goodall (who isn’t?), and I love this quote from her: “We could change the world tomorrow if all of the millions of people around the world acted the way they believe.” She believes, and has often stated, that our greatest tool for creating change is the “indomitable human spirit.”
After viewing those 15 YouTube videos, I have to agree. And I think hope – not to be confused with optimism – is the primary signature of each story. I’d like to share a few of these stories with you, simply because they are NOT extraordinary. These stories reflect the work that each of you does, every day. The work driven by your passion and your sense of what is right.
Three of these videos I felt were very inspiring:
- Gardens for Health International is working to provide sustainable agricultural solutions to address childhood malnutrition in Rwanda.
- Hope to Walk brings freedom and hope to individuals and families by providing prosthetic legs to amputees who do not have access or cannot afford them.
- The Wild Animal Sanctuary rescues abused or abandoned animals.
The work of these groups, and the other 12 nonprofits whose videos I reviewed, are incredibly varied. Some focus on the local community while others are working globally. Some have budgets under $500,000, while other budgets are in the millions. But they all have that one ingredient in common: hope that they can change the world.
Perhaps, after viewing a few of these videos, you will feel as I do - that there is still hope for our beautiful Earth and for the humans who inhabit it.
Here’s to changing the world in 2018!
View the Winners and learn more about Storymakers 2017