Remember the election of 2016? (Bear with me here, I promise this post won’t be political). Remember all the emotion surrounding that election? Remember waking up to your Facebook newsfeed November 9th and it was blowing up with reaction from both sides…your friends and family, acquaintances and work folks, all speaking up. Some were happy, some were sad, some were scared, some were angry, some were gloating, some were swearing to move to Canada. Some just outright shut down, refusing to engage because it was just so overwhelming. I remember the energy of that day just being so intense. There was an air of tension that hung over the entire work day…no one wanted to talk about it out loud, but they were certainly talking about it under the protection of their social media accounts.
What did I do? Something SO unlike me, I went on a rant. I have NEVER gone on a social media rant before. I wrote an open letter on the importance of access to healthcare for women, how it’s a basic human right, and how hard it is to raise children with what little support most mothers have in our country – especially those of limited means. And yeah, OK, maybe THAT post was a little political at the time….but it doesn’t really matter now, because what happened next is the important part.
I expected to lose 1/2 my friends. I expected to regret it an hour later and erase it. I have never been so boldly vulnerable with my beliefs and passions for mother’s rights before and despite expecting everything negative, I was surprised by everything positive. So many women and men, from every generation, chimed in. From both political sides, from different socio-economic backgrounds, and had a very civil comment discourse on the topic.
I realized in that moment that all that Facebook energy, all that emotion? It was 229 million people looking for connection and validation in the midst of a huge divisive world event. They were looking for validation and support, they were looking for their Village.
And so almost immediately I vowed to not be one of those people that rants out into cyber space with nothing to show for it, I was going to channel all of my energy into something real, something tangible. I was going to help a mother in need. I was going to be her Village, and hope in turn that she would widen mine.
So I posted again (so unlike me, again) and asked if others were interested in doing the same. Could helping others be a balm to their hurt? Their anger? Or a channel for their excitement and hope? They said yes, so ‘It Takes A Village’ was born. And I added about 50 of my friends as unknowing guinea pigs (thanks for that by the way, friends!).
Within 24 hours there were over 200 people, and within 36 hours there were over 400. I had a little bit of a panic realizing that I was really in it now! There was no turning back without massive embarrassment, so I pushed through. Really, it wasn’t that hard because SO MANY of the new members had great suggestions, “Try here!…Let’s do this!…Love this!… So excited to help!”
Within the first month we had a very successful campaign for the Coatesville Youth and Women’s Association and another for a single mother raising her infant daughter alone in West Chester. We had a very generous soul helping us build a website, a few more leading groups to assemble Christmas gifts for women spending the holiday in a homeless shelter, and so many more offering ideas, support and donations not only to the ‘Sponsorships’ but also to each other.
It’s been a bit of a whirlwind, I’m not going to lie. But I have never been so inspired to work on something before in my life. I can’t wait to share that passion and meet others in our community who are willing to walk this path along with me. We are our Village, and we will do amazing things!