I’m passionate about a lot of things that might not matter so much to other people. Biographies, MUSIC!, Meeting new people, REAL conversation (real life, real issues, real thoughts), Kehinde Wiley paintings, Post-its (not kidding…), Summer rain, Art made from wood, metal and glass, Magazines (Long live print magazines!), BMWs and of course PR and Social Media!
Those things may not rank high on your list, but I also care a great deal about health care and education. Health care was something I took for granted really until I started working at a health care communications firm. I realized that so many people out there were in trouble because they didn’t have the right information and support, and this goes for both prevention and treatment. For this reason, I’ll always do what I can to share information of that can save lives.
Education is something that I greatly value. I was raised by a teacher, so besides my own schooling, I spent many hours in the classroom. I think it is so very important and I want to do what I can to share that with others as well. I tutored while I was in college, am seriously considering getting back into it now and most certainly plan to become an adjunct professor at some point in the future. I love gaining and sharing knowledge. That’s probably why I’m so passionate about PR and social media.
Now that I’ve gone through all of that, I’d like to share with you my newest passion: Water. My passion for education was bound to develop and I really just fell into health care, but water came to me through purposeful appeals. The first time the issue of water, specifically the fact that some people in the world didn’t have access to clean water, clicked for me was during an MTV special I watched years ago that followed Jay Z and his involvement with a well built in a small village in Africa. I thought “Cool idea. Good that he’s doing that” and went back to my regularly scheduled life. It was cool, but it was also on TV and seemed almost like another entertainment program I could turn off when I was ready.
Fast forward a few years and you have James, 22 year old semi-socially aware working professional who has discovered 53.6 percent of himself and is extremely focused on mastering PR and rising not just in the company but in the industry. In comes this thing called Twestival which sounds like an amazing campaign inspired by the source of all, a.k.a Twitter.
Basics: Cities all over the world hosting happy hours events on February 12th to raise money for and awareness of charity:water, a non-profit dedicated to bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. Sounds great right?
Right, so I got pumped about it, invited a few friends and showed up on the 12th ready to get invested (physically and monetarily) in the cause. I don’t think I have EVER been more disappointed with an event. The event just wasn’t about increasing access to water, or at least I’ll say that I didn’t get that feeling. There were a couple signs, people taking pictures and a less than amazing group of merchandise being displayed for a silent auction. I didn’t meet anyone who told me more about the cause, what I could do to help or what happened next. My friends and I were completely turned off and put it in the box of bad happy hour memories (thankfully this box is pretty empty). I was so turned off that even though I tweeted all about it prior to going, I nixed my plans to write a post about it. I was going to be polite and silent since I had nothing nice to say at all, but I could resist commenting when fellow Brazen blogger Allison Jones wrote about her thoughts on the campaign. I thought my connection to Twestival and charity:water was done, but then I got an email with this subject: “You gave us money. Now what?”
They read my mind and provided more than a few lines about how much money they raised and a link to give more. They are posting video from right there on the ground as the plan comes to fruition. The wells are being drilled, lives are being improved and people like me are being won over. I’ve had a true change of heart and will be reaching out to them to see what I can do to help. Hopefully there will more updates to come…