A CMomA? You got it. I am a single, 33-year-old male with no kids (marriage and kids are in the plans) but my path in life led me very early on to a child centered and child rich place.
I believe we all want something in life. We’ve all felt a tug or a pull towards something. I was taught early on to live a life of meaning by my family, friends, and close mentors. I found meaning in helping others, and opportunities always just showed up. I didn’t understand it very well at first, but I went with it. Meaning is a very addictive thing.
In 2004, a bunch of my college friends and I were feeling optimistic. We kept hearing: “I wish I could do something now to make a difference instead of when I retire.” We took people up on that challenge. In 2005, we took our first group to an orphanage in Mexico and we fell in love with service and with the kids we met. With that simple and fun trip, Kaiizen, the non-profit we created, found its path. Since that short weekend trip, we have expanded our reach into over a dozen countries over the years. Close to 4,000 volunteers have traveled with us to meet the hundreds upon hundreds of kids we mentor. The journey has been incredible.
It is unique, to say the least, that feeling of being relied upon. I originally believed I could go to an orphanage, plan an amazing experience for the kids and my volunteers, and then I would be ok with leaving. It worked for a few trips but then reality set in. These kids without mothers and fathers needed all of me. They needed me to not only show up, but to care, and to care long-term.
So I began to care. I began to nurture. I began to worry about the kids when I was gone, and to plan for their futures. Finding balance became a struggle. I’m sure my own mother went through the same thing.There’s a space, a very messy space, between being stuck, and a life of meaning. It’s where I love to work.