More than Me is comprised of a very diverse group. Our team includes people with multiple degrees, and people who finished high school at age 25. We have all rallied around the idea that we can work for something more; that we can change at least one person’s life, so that she will have a bright future.
This sounds really great, but because we all come from different places and different backgrounds, we undoubtedly have different opinions and beliefs. Recently, More than Me’s founder, Katie, was profiled in a prominent New Jersey magazine, in a story titled, “Bernardsville woman puts faith into action in Liberia.” The piece shared Katie’s personal biography, her active religious life during college, and how her experiences led her to start More than Me.
The article does a good job of noting that faith and religion guided Katie, rather than being a guide for More than Me, but because Katie is often synonymous with the non-profit, the piece prompted a good discussion amongst some of the core team. Within our group we have several religions represented, along with a few atheists, and everyone has their own reasons for working with More than Me. By aligning ourselves with an organization, we are supporting the work it does and associating ourselves with the PR that goes along with it.
Politics, religion, economics, and other issues are all good opportunities for us to discuss our strengths, differences, and how we ended up in the weird world of More than Me. Among our rag tag team, very few of us have much in common with the girls we help. How could we? By having people who are super-religious or ardently conservative or crunchy and liberal volunteer and take an interest, we have been innovative and reached out to as many people as possible.
There are not a lot of things that large numbers of people agree on. Sports? Don’t talk to me about Boston/New York/Pittsburgh/etc. Music. Everyone’s an expert. Politics. Not at the dinner table. Religion. Don’t bring it up in polite company. Soup? Arg, I’m a salad person. Salad? Sorry, I support soup.
Considering how divisive even the most accessible parts of daily life can be, it is amazing that More than Me has created such a diverse network of volunteers and supporters.
I have to admit, I started reading the article about Katie cautiously. Religion is not the reason I am involved with More than Me, and my story, like the story of every other person involved, is different from Katie’s. The article, though, is a good read. Even better, it opened up an opportunity to highlight More than Me’s work, start a good discussion, and remind everyone that we are volunteering for a common goal. Each girl who learns to read and write is a vindication that people really can put aside differences to work for something worthwhile.
What started with one girl from New Jersey has turned into a world-wide network of people helping children go to school for the first time. The progress we have made, the progress of our girls in Liberia, and the growth we have seen is inspiring.
So, how did you get involved with More than Me? Email us. Post something on Facebook. Write in the comments of this blog. Share your story.