Get Your “Blue Sweater” On This Friday
The Santa Cruz Community Foundation has invited us to lead their 501(c)(3) Book Club this Friday to discuss The Blue Sweater. So don't miss your chance to talk international development with our director Peter Laugharn and his wife Marie Kagaju Laugharn!
We often hear buzz words these days reminding us to conserve, recycle, give to the less fortunate. These serve as reminders to cue actions in our daily lives that affect a world beyond our little bubble. We may not see poverty in our midst, or feel the direct environmental impacts of deforestation, but we are reminded of our humanity, fallibility, and compassion when we do kind deeds for others less fortunate than and often invisible to ourselves.
Clothing that we feel we've outgrown, for example, could help the life of another. Donation bins continue to surface across the country to support in this effort.
Imagine, for a moment, that you discard an old sweater that you have worn for years. You donate it to Goodwill, along with other clothing that you have pulled out of your closet in an effort to clear up the clutter. For many of us, we don't need to delve too deeply into our imaginations to envision a situation such as this. In fact, we may have just dropped off a bag of clothes to Goodwill last week. The moment that bag leaves our hands, we might feel a sense of relief or generosity, even though we will never see where that miscellaneous bag of items may end up. Or will we?
Author Jacqueline Novogratz recounts a moving and life-changing epiphany in her life when she stumbles across the new owner of a blue sweater 11 years after she donated it to Goodwill. She was halfway around the world, in Rwanda, when she came across this young sweater-clad boy. Novogratz was so inspired by the journey of this sweater around the world that she details her story in her world-acclaimed book “The Blue Sweater.”
Novogratz's story serves as a metaphor for how interconnected we are; to remind us that everything we choose to do (or not do) touches others' lives. Therefore, we must make careful and informed decisions about our actions, because they will ripple into real consequences.
She says this when reflecting on her path:
“They say a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. I took mine and fell flat on my face. As a young woman, I dreamed of changing the world. In my twenties, I went to Africa to try and save the continent, only to learn that Africans neither wanted nor needed saving. Indeed, when I was there, I saw some of the worst that good intentions, traditional charity, and aid can produce...
I concluded that if I could only nudge the world a little bit, maybe that would be enough.
This Friday, March 14th, join us at the Santa Cruz Community Foundation for a discussion of the story of the Blue Sweater and the impact that this story has had on global development and philanthropy. We'll talk about ideas generated by this book and how it might affect your giving to philanthropic organizations. If you can't make the book group, you can still let us know what you think. Leave us a comment here, on Facebook or tweet us.
Join us for a continental breakfast and a discussion of the Blue Sweater from 9:30am-11:30am this coming Friday at the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County (7807 Soquel Drive in Aptos).
The cost is $40, or $20 with an early bird discount. So Register soon! Click here to reserve your place. The registration fee not only includes breakfast and a lively discussion, but you also get a copy of Novogratz's book with admission.
Order your tickets soon to join Marie, Peter, and your local community for a lively and important discussion!
Quick Recap What: Book club discussion of Jacqueline Novogratz's The Blue Sweater When: This coming Friday, March 14th from 9:30-11:30am Where: Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County (7807 Soquel Drive in Aptos)