This post is part of #GivingTuesday's #WomenWhoGive series, which celebrates women who are making a difference in their communities.
Madeleine Park, Founder + CEO, Together She Can
What inspired you to start giving?
I come from a very giving and charitable family. From a young age, I learned to always be kind and help others. Doing what you can, big or small, can really make a difference in someone's day, or even life. As I got older I realized that I could combine those beliefs with my skills and effort, to create something bigger. With that, I founded Together She Can, helping homeless with hygiene care, which helps a greater amount of people (than I ever could before) and includes the local community!
What does giving mean to you? Why do you continue to give your time, talents, money, or more to your community?
To me giving means teamwork, friendship, and an understanding that nobody has to be alone. Everyone experiences hardship, some more than others. I truly believe that it is our duty to help our fellow people. If you can help, you should. Someday you may even need it yourself. We believe in treating others how you would want to be treated!
I nurture Together She Can because I can see the direct impact it has on others. Being able to help those in need, especially on the ground, allows you to see the best humanity has to offer. It transcends through the stigmas, stereotypes, and money while igniting hope, inspiration, and happiness. You can't ask for anything more than that!
What would you tell others who are looking to start giving back? Share a piece of advice will help them get started.
The biggest piece of advice I would give others is to just start. Taking that first step is always the hardest. Don't get stuck too much on the long-term planning, just take it one piece at a time. Once you take that first step, you'll figure out the next and so on. From here you can find what that works best for your lifestyle. And, don't worry about helping everyone, just focus on who/what you can help - a little will go a long way!
Please share a favorite moment or story from when you volunteered or donated to an organization.
I have two favorite memories from Together She Can that I hold very dear to my heart. The first one was about 2 years ago, Together She Can hosted a Beauty Day for the women staying at a shelter in Boston. At the time, our logo was a pink flower - I was wearing earrings to match it. The day went amazing. When we were about to leave one of the women asked me to wait as she ran to get a few bags of belongings. She can back with a pink flower pin. She gave it to me and said, "this is for you! It will match your earrings. Thank you so much for all you do for us." It still brings me to tears thinking about it. Watching someone who has almost nothing, give you a gift like that is truly touching.
The second memory was from one of our Beauty Classes with Sephora. We partner with Sephora Stands to provide professional beauty classes to homeless women in the community. We brought a group of women to a Sephora studio, they opened it just for us and had a full, amazing staff on hand! The women were treated to an amazing program and walked away with new confidence and even some new makeup. I overheard the homeless women talking to each other as they left and one of them said, "I finally feel like myself again. I feel like I can go out now and start a new life." That is what Together She Can stands for and I am so glad we are able to provide that to those who need it most!