How Can We Give Back to Our Communities?
At AAMA, we believe in giving back through philanthropy and charitable giving, whether it’s our annual holiday food drives or World Vision-partnered backpack build on location at every Fall Conference. We encourage member companies to find opportunities for giving time and money in their communities, and we’re proud when members of our staff do the same. One example of an AAMA staff member giving their time is Jason Seals, AAMA Certification Manager. Every summer, Jason and his daughter participate in mission trips with the youth group at their church, First United Methodist Church of Denton. His family has participated in the middle school mission trip program for three years, and they intend to continue doing so. Around 35-50 kids go on the mission trips each summer.
Here are some of the things Jason and his family have done through FUMC-Denton:
- 2015: “We worked with a local charity, Connect to the Kingdom, and stayed at a church in South Dallas, an economically depressed area, for a week. We started out each morning at a summer reading program for kids there, helping them learn to read. In the afternoons, we helped paint homes for older parishioners, and we worked with a charity that delivered used furniture to those in need. We also worked in a community garden.”
- 2016: “We went to Quest Ranch, a place in New Braunfels, Texas, where we worked to recover flood-ridden areas that had been impacted by intense storms that year. We helped build emergency housing, framing walls that would be used to build housing in the disaster area. We had about 50 kids with us, and made enough walls to build two of those houses.”
- 2017: “We went to Heifer Ranch in Arkansas, which is a part of Heifer international. Their mission is to provide livestock to poorer areas of the world -- a flock of chickens, or a herd of goats -- and they educate people on how to use those animals to have sustainable agriculture, giving them eggs, milk and more. They put on summer programs where they teach kids where their food comes from, and how much more food we consume in America than in other parts of the world. We did farm chores and took care of animals, worked in a garden and did maintenance.”
One special part of the 2017 mission at Heifer Ranch was the kids’ visit to Global Village, an area of the farm where replica houses from different areas of the world can be found: a house from Thailand on stilts; a circular hut from Zambia; a yurt from Nepal; Urban Slums; rural Appalachia; and a refugee camp. For one night, the kids lived in them like people in those parts of the world would, and they were only given as much food as they would have if they lived there.
“They have to make it go around among a ‘family’ of 8-12 people,” said Jason. “And it’s summer in Arkansas, too, so it’s hot.”
Jason concluded that it’s important to teach your kids about giving back, and raising them to be moral adults.
“They need to understand how good we have it compared to other people in the world,” said Jason. “They have no other frame of reference. These trips show the kids a different part of the world, even if it’s only 45 minutes from where we live. We want to try to help people, and to pass on that desire to help, to our kids.”
If you’re participating in any mission work or other charitable giving, we want to hear about it! Tweet us about it so we can link to other organizations AAMA and its members are assisting.