So about that other story…Apparently, it can take years for organizations to gain this status. And lots of work. But the universe was working in my favor. I asked 2 friends to help with the 20+ pages of IRS paperwork. We met at the Student Learning Center, pulled some numbers out of the air, filled in some boxes, and sent the paperwork off. A few months later I received a notification that a few things needed to be fixed, sent it back, and that was that. Not a big deal. Not a big headache.
Confused? Bookbags With the Basics? Wait … you said MODEL26, and I still don’t even know what that is. … Yeah. This gets people all the time. I started Bookbags With the Basics as a way to collect school supplies to send to children throughout the U.S. and abroad. By the end of 2010 and going into the early part of 2011, we had worked with Simone’s Kids, Teach for America, the University of Maryland’s women’s basketball team and sororities and fraternities at UGA, LSU, the University of Florida, and CAU to successfully collect and distribute school supplies to over 1000 children and teachers in Uganda, Georgia, Mississippi, and Nicaragua. But what had we actually done? All the kids we supported were still poor. What had we actually achieved? And where did we go next? The team of volunteers I had managed to bring together were looking to me for direction. That’s when I realized I was just a visionary. Not an executer. But I had to step it up and develop some skills I didn’t have.
So what did I do? I guess what any normal person would do. I Google’d it. … Yes, I spent a lot of time on the internet during my planning periods … And after Googling some things, decided to set up a few meetings. I started with my Senator. Yup, I went to my Senator. I was studying and interning in DC at the time. I lived on Capitol Hill. Seemed like a great resource. And while I didn’t actually talk to my Senator his staff was very helpful! I was pointed in the right direction to some contacts in Georgia. So I started calling people, and setting up meetings. One of those meetings was with a former United Nations representative and she explained to me that what I was doing was commendable, but I was possibly interrupting the local economies in some of the countries we wanted to work in, and I was only creating a need for aid instead of developing a real solution. She was right! She was absolutely right! And on top of that, my idea wasn’t even innovative. How many organizations exist that do school supply collections and deliveries? Right. A LOT. I wanted to create something that didn’t already exist. But what would I do?
So I went back to the drawing board. … Again.
(Dyci, a SocialChange.is contributor, will have Part Three of her three part journey on SocialChange.is in one week’s time).