Being a Vessel

by Erin Kelly
January 17 2010

I am continually suprised by the number of people who really are doing things in the interest of helping other people. Growing up in the United States, in a free-market economy where individualism is valued and self-improvement is constantly encouraged, one is taught to focus on the self. It is not always in a conceited way, and it is by no means the only cultural lesson taught, but it is an inherent tendency of this society. That said, it is always a pleasant surprise for me to find the people who also value community and genuinely live their lives in helping others. And there are plenty of them. It is these type of people who we wish to bring more awareness to with this project.

For the past few days, I have experienced such surprise over and over again. In response to the tragic events in Haiti, people are cropping up all over the place to help, in whatever way they can. Every store I go to, I am asked to donate at the register. The Golden Globes are filled with acceptance speeches and announcements, pleading people to help. I even received an email from iTunes, asking to donate to the American Red Cross. Sure, these are major media venues. But I know there are also countless individuals and groups that are reaching out to help. The point is that there is a response, an acknowledgement of a need to lend a hand. I can only hope that our project may garner even the tiniest bit of response for the people, organizations, and causes that we share.

(On a side note, I just recently saw Meryl Streep’s Golden Globe acceptance speech, and something she said struck me – “I clearly understand that I am a vessel for telling other people’s stories.” That immediately made me think of my mother, who has been a vessel for people’s stories all of her life and is the main inspiration for this project.)

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