by Rosa Gutierrez

Things started very early on Saturday morning, October 1, at The Miracle Foundation office. By 7 a.m., the kitchen was set up with delicious snacks (including Jim’s favorite donuts), volunteers were arriving, children were playing, grownups were greeting each other, and the staff was ready with all the fun activities planned for the day. This was the beginning of the “2011 Be the Change National Day of Service” happening all over Austin (and the nation) in honor of Mahatma Gandhi’s famous quotation, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

As the “Be the Change” website states, “Be the Change Rise Up to Service” is an annual national day of service coordinated by South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) to inspire and foster civic engagement through volunteerism and community service.

Things got underway at our office by showing the volunteers a video about The Miracle Foundation and our mission. Then it was time to get busy!

  • The younger kids made cards and drew pictures for the children in India. Their excitement was apparent, and they had so many wonderfully creative ideas. One young girl used stickers to tell a story and wrote that she wanted to be a surgeon when she grew up, so she could help others.
  • Most of the adults wrote and decorated letters of appreciation to our Housemothers in India. They loved the activity, as it brought their creativity to life. One woman had brought her 4-year-old grandson. As she wrote letters, he sat beside her drawing pictures and asking her questions, such as where did these children live and why were they writing letters to them. With her thoughtful answers, it was clear to see how change can happen through even the smallest of actions. Not only was she thanking the Housemothers for all their hard work and loving dedication, but, more importantly, she was instilling the importance of “giving back” in her grandson. It was an inspiring moment and made it very clear to everyone there that change is possible.
  • Then there was the young man who decided he wanted to work outside. He did a tremendous job and actually filled up 10 large bags with leaves and twigs — all by himself!

Throughout the day, it was clear that everyone felt the joy of giving back. This was true both at The Miracle Foundation office and throughout Austin. Following the event, the “Be the Change” website stated, “WE DID IT AUSTIN!!! 1,000+ volunteers from ages 5 to 50+ rose up in service and showed all of Austin how we all could BE THE CHANGE!!”

Everyone at TMF extends our sincere thanks to all of the “Be the Change” volunteers. Because of their desire to give of their time, effort, and creativity, our yard is free of leaves and our children and Housemothers will all receive beautifully handwritten and decorated cards, letting them know that people on the other side of the world are carrying them in their hearts. There is nothing more meaningful than that! Thanks for “Being the Change.”