This post is part of #GivingTuesday's #WomenWhoGive series, which celebrates women who are making a difference in their communities.
Jody Powers, Founder & Executive Director, Amelia’s Closet.
What inspired you to start giving?
Following a friend’s funeral, I was contemplating the impact of my life and what people would say at my funeral. Although I was active in my church, I felt like I was simply blessing the blessed and serving the served. I wanted to make a bigger community impact but as a forty-something, insecure introvert, I wasn’t sure that I could accomplish very much.
For years, I noticed a problem that I thought was too large for me to tackle, so I did nothing except wait for someone else to fix it. It wasn’t until I felt God leading me to resign my eighteen-year job, that my new calling was slowly revealed to me. (calling: “where your burdens and talents collide”)
Please share a favorite moment or story from when you volunteered or donated to an organization.
As the puzzle pieces started coming together and with the help of family and friends, Amelia’s Closet began with a few racks of business clothes in my grown children’s old bedrooms. We are now serving our community from a 4,000 sq. ft. shop in the center of town. We are assisting nearly fifty other agency’s clients with business clothing, interview tips and a makeover as they re-enter the workforce following a hardship.
I never felt completely ready to take on our first client, but after starting to volunteer in our community and learning from other nonprofit leaders, we jumped in and started making a difference. It didn’t seem to matter that I didn’t have a degree in business nor nonprofit management. Although nothing about this endeavor was housed inside my comfort zone, my life’s experiences fueled me to be brave and step out.
What does giving mean to you? Why do you continue to give your time, talents, money, or more to your community?
I see the impact of this simple offering, so I continue to donate my time, financial resources, and skills into running Amelia’s Closet. It is so rewarding when we hear of a previous client landing a life-changing job, or starting their own business, or moving in to permanent housing, or even going back to college to finish what they started. Some ladies are even hired by or serving on the board of the nonprofits that referred them to us!
I’m learning that we are most fulfilled when we give what we are in need of. I realized I needed healthier self-esteem. Now that I help instill that in the women we serve, I’m starting to feel less inadequate in my calling, allowing me to be a difference-maker.
What would you tell others who are looking to start giving back? Share a piece of advice will help them get started.
“If you wait until we can do everything for everybody, instead of something for somebody, you’ll end up not doing anything for anybody.” (M. Bane)