Dealing with the struggles of everyday life is tough, but what can you say about the struggles of the less fortunate? To help combat poverty and assist victims of domestic abuse, Pamela and Scott Macdonald have put their heads together to create Project Lead Kindly. Pamela is also a blogger at Macdonald’s Playland.
MomViews: You and your husband recently announced a project to assist mothers and families out of homelessness and domestic violence. What inspired the two of you to focus on such important causes?
Pamela Macdonald: It honestly started with a conversation between us. The conversation involved one of our biggest priorities: our children. We started talking about how the world is changing and how the challenges for children are increasing each day. We were discussing how we could possibly encourage them to make the right decisions and to be good examples, despite a world that will at times try to drive them the other way.
As we put our minds together, we realized we had a singular and sincere desire to tell our kids this: that everyone possesses the potential to do real good and to be an example. All have the chance to use the skills and talents they possess to make their lives, families, and the world a better place. All have a light within them to lead more kindly, no matter their present circumstances.
Eventually we realized we wanted to spread this message to all around us, especially those going through difficult trials (our hearts then turned to wanting to assist the mothers & children going through some of the harshest realities of life – homelessness and domestic violence). We want to help our children & others see that light and to utilize it to overcome challenges, and have a positive influence on others and their future.
Our kids were definitely our initial inspiration. So you can thank their cute, chunky, sweet, life-changing little selves for all of this! :)
MV: Making family a priority is top of mind for most parents. Now that you have launched this nonprofit, how do you and your husband involve your little ones in the project?
PM: My daughter is almost 3 and my son is 6 months old. Any time we are out to go do something for someone else, we say to them, “We’re going to go help people right now.” If we’re able to, we try to take them along to whatever it is we need to do to help someone (i.e: bringing a family a meal or visiting someone). We hope this will help them to witness their parents trying to do good, not just through a nonprofit, but in daily life. Hopefully we can lead by example for them.
Also, every Monday night is designated to something called “Family Home Evening,” where we get together as a family and learn, talk, and play together. During that time, we try to teach our daughter (and eventually our son when he can understand better) ways to be kind to others, amongst other things. Just simple principles, but definitely important ones. They are principles that ultimately create the foundation for how we want to be as a family and the work we try to do through Project Lead Kindly.
PM: I try to tell myself that if we didn’t try to help or be kind, we never would have that opportunity to show that person someone else cared. You don’t know how your positive actions can affect someone down the road. One of my favorite quotes is: “You hold in your hands the happiness of more people than you can imagine.” ~ Henry B. Eyring
So I try to push aside thoughts about if every single person will use my help in the right way, or whether or not they deserve it. I believe we are here to learn to love and to show true charity and regard for others. I think giving helps us, just as much as it may help another. To learn to give because you truly feel in your heart a genuine desire and care to help this person, with no thought of what you’ll get in return or how your kindness will be used, is true greatness.
It’s definitely a learning process, one I am certainly nowhere near perfect at yet. But it’s ok for all of us to try.
And in all honestly, when everything really becomes overwhelming or I have a bad experience that gets me down, I pray for help. Prayer has gotten me through everything :)
PM: We have a vision for Project Lead Kindly, and hope to accomplish the following:
- To provide resources that assist in getting more mothers & children off the streets and/or away from violence & into more stable homes & lives. Through our grants, we help them obtain educational or professional dreams & more stable/safe & permanent housing.
- To break cycles of homelessness and domestic violence within families.
- To provide opportunities for mothers to be examples & for children to see examples of kindness.
- To help ensure that future generations can have individuals who will be kind leaders and good examples.
- To uplift the needy, brokenhearted, and discouraged.
- To inspire kindness amongst people by being kind.
- To spread the message that we all possess a light and a great potential to serve, to do good, and to positively influence others, no matter our circumstances.
The more people we can reach and uplift with our message, and the more mothers & children we can assist out of the cycle of homelessness & domestic violence, the better.
MV: What advice would you give someone who wants to help a cause but does not know where to start?
1) SHARE: Sharing their links on social media or in person with otheres, and telling people how awesome you think they are. Word of mouth and social media is so helpful in spreading a message.
2) GET INVOLVED: Checking out the cause’s website. There are usually clear ways to volunteer, help from afar, or to donate. On the Project Lead Kindly website, we clearly list the ways people (near or far) can get involved: http://www.projectleadkindly.com/p/volunteer.html
3) LEARN: Look up the cause’s “mission” (most causes have a mission statement) and then find out how they carry out their mission (that way you know where donations go, how they’re used, and what work the nonprofit actually does to accomplish its mission). Here’s how Project Lead Kindly tries to accomplish its goals: http://www.projectleadkindly.com/p/how.html
4) UNDERSTAND THE CAUSE: This goes along with number 3 above, but educate yourself on the cause. Find out what they do and why they do it. Ask yourself what problem is going to be solved if they were to be successful? This way, you can tell others about it and be able to clearly describe what the organization is about.
5) GIVE: If you’re able to donate, do so. Many causes function solely because of the generous donations of others. For Project Lead Kindly, we offer shirts (www.projectleadkindly.storenvy.com) where 100% of the profits go towards providing those grants for mothers & children. We also have the donate page for other ways to help.
Thanks for joining me this week. Stop by next Wednesday for more insights from moms like you. Also, don’t forget to check out last week’s post on Tohni Jean’s experience with creating a family before saying “I Do.