THERE ARE MANY WAYS YOU CAN HELP ACN MAKE A DIFFERENCE
1. Start an ACN Chapter.
2. Assume an ACN Internship or long-term service role as an ACN Representative in your town or city. This will require you to investigate ways in which ACN might be able to assist young people in your area who have been/are currently abandoned, orphaned, are no longer in foster care, homeless, or have been abandoned by the system on which they have been dependent. Responsibilities:
- Review local newspapers for stories of young people who might qualify for ACN assistance. Then email or post your articles to ACN for consideration.
- Share information about ACN with your local welfare office and ask about any children who might qualify for assistance.
- Serve as a liaison between ACN and the prospective beneficiary of ACN support.
- Explore the possibility of educating others about the work ACN does by either speaking to a school or youth group on behalf of ACN, or requesting that an ACN Board Member speak to the group.
- Organize at least one ACN fundraiser per year, e.g., appeal to friends and relatives, bake sales, receptions, church collections, benefit performances or dinners, auctions, car washes, etc. ACN has extensive fundraising experience and will be happy to provide guidance or ideas when needed.
3. Suggest an idea of your own to Dr. Klein (firstname.lastname@example.org). We are always open to new ideas and welcome support.
- “We spent our first day in Romania at the Boys Home for “learning disabled” kids. I saw boys playing football, so I joined them. My Romanian language skills are non-existent, but with a ball at our feet I knew we would understand each other, as we all shared a common love of the game. I started running and quickly realized that the kids were just staring at me. I called over to the translator and asked what was going on, and he translated for one boy, who seemed to talk for some time before the translator said, “They want to know why you want to play with them and whether you know that if others see you playing with them they will think that you are stupid, too.” These guys eventually did play with me, convinced or not that I didn’t care about being called “stupid,” but they cared about me. These boys taught me compassion by trying to protect me against the label they had to carry with them for life.”
- “What’s inspiring is that we can actually do something about all that we are seeing. Compassion is something we all talk about but it really has no meaning unless we act on it. These kids really are discriminated against and seem so accepting of the labels that have been given them. On this trip I have learned that actively serving others has to be a matter of choice, but if we choose not to serve others, the least we can do is to try hard not to misunderstand or misrepresent them."
- “I wasn’t sure how I would feel visiting a bunch of small children, but for me, this ended up being one of the highlights of my visit. How could anyone abandon these kids? And to think that until the police find their biological mothers, these kids don’t even legally exist here."
- “When this one little girl, the Center’s smallest, was introduced to me, she just stared at me. I learned from the Center’s volunteer that the doctor would not give her the surgery she required without parental consent, but there was no parental consent because the police hadn’t yet found the birth mother who could identify her. She kept staring at me and suddenly I felt incredibly guilty. I felt guilty because when I finally got her to smile, I realized that I care a lot more about total strangers than I thought I did. Maybe I have learned that we all have to start looking out for one another a little bit more, and to help those who are unluckier than we are whenever we can. I’m being honest when I write that I am not a very caring person, but maybe this little girl has taught me that I should be. I think I will never be able to get her out of my head.”
- “I have never before met people with a life-threatening disease. When I started to leave one group home for HIV-positive kids, little Marie grabbed my hand and pleaded with me not to leave. I asked the translator what she was repeating over and over as she started to cry, and the translator said, “She says not to go because she heard today that she is going to die because of her sickness.” I was shocked that she even knew she was ill, and didn’t know what to say so I took her in my arms and hugged her. “I’ll be back,” I asked the translator to tell her. She wouldn’t let go, and for the first time in my life, I had to forcefully disengage myself from someone who seemed to love me so unconditionally. A girl had accepted me into her young life without requiring anything from me in turn. I was loved for being there, and not for anything I had done to deserve these intense feelings.”