Embracing Adventure “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” ~~Hellen Keller

Awareness Without Action Accomplishes Nothing

“You know, around here our ambition hurts more than it helps. Around here, our ambition throws a non-perishable item in the donation bin at Christmas and pats itself on the back because it thinks it’s done something f***ing decent.”
~~Matthew Good, 21st Century Living

Around here, there is even less ambition displayed than in the above referenced song. Around here, there is the Facebook status for “awareness” or to “fight” something, which a friend captured perfectly “lets people feel like they are doing something without actually doing anything.” At one point, people were posting statuses instructing others to change their profiles to childhood cartoon characters: “The goal? To not see a human face on FB ‘til Monday Dec 6. Join the fight against child abuse…”

There are so many ribbons that it’s hard to keep straight which color goes with which cause, especially considering that many of the colors are used for several purposes. Click the photo to go to the original with larger print.

That is not fighting child abuse. Those who abuse are not going to stop just because you, even if it’s thousands of you, post a cartoon picture and a status. If you want to fight abuse, then do something about it. Treat your own children well. If you know someone is being abused, get them help (1). Donate time and/or money to programs and institutions that help abusers stop and the abused to heal and learn how to break the cycle (2). Simply changing a picture changes nothing if you haven’t taken action to back it up.

It’s not just statuses that are giving people the excuse to pat themselves on the back without really doing anything. People wear ribbons or certain colors to “raise awareness.” But unless you have purchased a ribbon and the proceeds go toward the cause, or you are wearing that color in attendance at an event that is actively doing something toward your cause, then you are not really doing anything. Awareness without action accomplishes nothing.

Another common practice is getting people to “like” or join pages. Although there are some who do back up the cause they “support,” there are many that do not. Getting ten thousand people to join or “like” something does not mean anything unless the people “supporting” the cause are actively doing something to support it. Putting your name, your “like,” or your comment is not the same as putting your voice, your time, or your financial support.

There are also a number of campaigns that people participate in expecting someone else to do the work for them. I often get texts and emails with the general setup that such and such an organization will donate $1 for every person who forwards it. If people thought logically for a second they would realize that these things cannot be tracked, especially texts. Think of your privacy rights, and all the things you text daily, and what would be required for these organizations to actually know that you forwarded the content of this particular message. You wouldn’t want them to be able to. If you forward one of these, all you are doing is the textual or email equivalent of the status post: absolutely nothing.

Fisher House is an organization with houses near military installations and VA medical centers that have suites available for family members of military and VA patients receiving care. They also operate a Hotels for Heroes program so family members can stay in hotels near medical centers without charge and a Hero Miles program which allows family members to use donated frequent flyer miles to travel to injured family members. Click the above logo to be taken to Fisher House’s site to learn more about them and ways that you can give to and/or get involved with their programs.

If you want to have money donated to a cause, do it yourself; don’t expect others to do it for you. If you like the idea of it being as simple as sending a text, there is a legitimate way to do this. One Veterans’ Day, I heard on the radio station WJRR about texting VET to Fisher House on that day to make a $10 donation. After looking Fisher House up online to verify what they do and where my money would be going, I texted. They sent a text asking to confirm that I wish to make a $10 donation and explaining exactly how it would appear as a charge on my phone bill. I confirmed, and they thanked me. Simple. And they are far from the only organization to do this.

I do not write this to dissuade anyone from their participation in awareness campaigns and the like. On the contrary, I think Facebook is a wonderful tool for getting messages across to people that we otherwise might not. I have found out about everything from traffic jams to national news from Facebook before I heard about it elsewhere. So if you can get everyone on your Facebook to pay attention, it can be a wonderful thing…if you do something with it. And that’s what I want everyone to do. Don’t just stop at a status post to create awareness that goes no further; take the initiative to do something.

For child abuse prevention, I decided to do something. For every person on my friends list I saw post a cartoon character picture by a specified time and date, I donated $1 to the organization Prevent Child Abuse America (3). By that time, I had counted 22 friends with a cartoon character picture. I added a few dollars for myself and donated $25. While I think it would be great if everyone did that, I encourage you if you posted a similar type of picture to at least donate $1 to an organization that has something to do with your chosen cause. This is your chance to do more than create awareness; take an action that will make your awareness worth something.

(1) If you are or know someone who is being abused, call 1-800-4-A-CHILD. This is the number to the National Child Abuse Hotline. Or you can visit http://www.childhelp.org/ and click the link that applies to you.

(2)&(3)Prevent Child Abuse America (http://www.preventchildabuse.org): The link will take you to the Prevent Child Abuse America page which has information and education about child abuse and neglect and the prevention of them, information for volunteering with your local chapter and donating, and links about their mission, core values, and vision.

Note: I posted the original version of this article on December 4, 2010 on a blog that no longer exists. I thought of reposting it in April because I received an email reminding me that April was Child Abuse Prevention Month and because, at that time, people were changing their profile pictures blue for autism awareness. Although I didn’t get around to getting back to my blog to post it until now, I figure there’s no wrong time for something like this. If you are interested in helping prevent child abuse, see the information above. If you are interested in increasing awareness or learning more about autism, see the information below.

The Autism Society (http://www.autism-society.org): This link will take you to The Autism Society’s website which has a lot of information about autism, living with autism, and how you can get involved.

The above a video features Carly Fleischman. She has autism spectrum disorder and communicates using a computer. In this video, she discusses things that everyone should know regarding autism. On her website, CarlysVoice.com, she answers frequently asked questions about herself and autism, recommends different devices and programs for those with autism spectrum disorder, and more. She also wrote a book: Carly’s Voice: Breaking Through Autism.

A note on Amazon links: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

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6 Thoughts on “Awareness Without Action Accomplishes Nothing

  1. Excellent post!

  2. Fascinating post, thanks for sharing!

  3. That is an amazing post! Thank you so much for writing it, because it really needed to be said. You just addressed one of the many reasons why I left Facebook – I couldn’t take the hipocracy any longer – about anything and everything. I hope you’re doing well!

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