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run1Eat better. Stop smoking. Get to the gym more. Get more organized. Stop looking at my damn iPhone so much. It seems that these are the common new years resolutions I hear frequently in my life – both from myself and from people around me. And honestly, I don’t put too much stock into new years resolutions. Call me jaded, but I know how often they can fail. There’s an old joke about gyms filling up in January but being empty again by February. I don’t know this from experience…I don’t even go in January.

These promises we make to better ourselves often times are easier said than done. While I don’t think that means we should stop trying, I do think it means that goals should be realistic with clear, manageable plans.

I often think about this idea of self-improvement and how it relates to what we do in our communities. When I started A Voice For The Innocent, I knew that not every single person’s passion was going to be helping people affected by rape and sex abuse. That’s okay. Many people are fortunate enough to not have had direct impact from it, and even if they have, maybe there are issues they care about more. That’s still okay.

gym1This year, while we are picking up our phones a bit less to see our families’ smiling faces a bit more, while we are stopping at the gym instead of the fast food place, and while we are picking up sunflower seeds instead of Marlboro Lights, let’s give some serious consideration to getting more involved in the causes we care about. How many of us have a “I’ve always wanted to” story?

“I’ve always wanted to get more involved with homeless shelters.”

“I’ve always wanted to foster pets.”

“I’ve always wanted to organize care packages and send them to our troops overseas.”

“I’ve always wanted to start a blog discussing racial inequality.”

“I’ve always wanted to teach music to underprivileged kids.”

It doesn’t matter what it is! Good is good, and there’s plenty of good that needs to be done. Let’s stop waiting. We can all do a bit more, so let’s make this our year to get started.

siosBack in June, we had a gentleman named Christian come and tell a story at one of our Speak Up Saturdays. He told us an amazing story about the work he is doing with an organization he started called Spring In Our Steps, and the obstacles he had to overcome to get started. His organization has very little to do with ours, and I don’t highlight his story to say that all of us need to go out and start organizations. Frankly, it’s a lot of work to do that, and most of us don’t have time for that. But what time can we give? Where can we help? What good can we do?

Christian Huelsman, Spring In Our Steps executive director, cleaning a Cincinnati staircase.
Christian Huelsman, Spring In Our Steps executive director, cleaning a Cincinnati staircase.
Spring In Our Steps, by their own description, is a Cincinnati-based 501(c)3 organization that feels that forgotten pedestrian spaces can become some of the city’s best assets. The group initiates community-oriented projects in Cincinnati’s alleyways, on its hillside steps, as well as on its most pedestrian pathways. Check them out on Facebook, or at springinoursteps.com, and take a listen to Christian’s story below.

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