“Find your why.”
What an interesting quote. I’ve heard it, you’ve heard it, your parents and grandparents and friends have heard it. But what does that really mean? I’ve tried to make a point to be more mindful lately, and I have particularly wrestled with questions such as, who am I? What do I want at this exact moment? Why am I doing what I’m doing?
But I’ve figured out the answer is simple. I joined a little organization as a dancer my sophomore year of college. Carolina For The Kids (formerly UNC Dance Marathon.) You may have heard of it before. Yeah, yeah, I hear your groans before I even post this, but let me have my moment and let me be cheesy about how standing for 24 hours actually means the world to me.
Carolina For The Kids is the largest student-run philanthropy in the state of North Carolina. Our purpose? Serving the families and patients of UNC Children’s Hospital. How? We do it all. We serve parents dinners at the hospital so they don’t have to leave their children. We go canvassing all over the triangle. We have events. We literally have 15 committees full of people doing these things all year. And then, we have a teeny little event called Dance Marathon in spring, in which we raise money and pledge to stand for 24 hours.
As I said, I joined CFTK my sophomore year as a dancer because my friend and now roommate encouraged me too. I was anxious. I had signed up my freshman year, but people encouraged me not to.
“It’s hard. You just stand there the whole time. You’re so sore afterwards.”
It was enough to scare me off that year. But the next year I gave in. I’m always up for trying new things, and who would I be to judge something before I tried it? And I was miserable. I made it to ~hour 17 and I hated myself. But I was going to finish this thing, damn it. And then it was time for our Kid Co-Captains (current/former patients from UNC Children’s) to have a talent show. I sobbed. And then it was time to hear the families speak about where the money we raised went. And I sobbed. Here I was, complaining about having cankles and this mom was thanking us with everything she had for supporting her family. And there it was, clear as day, my why.
Fast forward two years later, and now I’m the multimedia subchair under the technology committee. I’m in charge of coordinating photo and video coverage for our events, and basically, making sure we have content to use at the marathon and to publicize who we are and what we do. It’s not an easy job sometimes. Things fall through, people don’t answer emails, and editing video files is hard. But I get to see firsthand the difference we’re making. I get to help get the word out. I get to film our Kid Co-Captains and see how bright their spirits are. I’m helping. This is my why.