Impact, Not Income
Updated: Apr 9
One of the things I love about my company, is how passionate we are about giving back.
Our mission truly is about helping others. We believe in passion & purpose, above power and position.
And we don't just talk the talk. We walk it, breath it, live it. It starts at the top, and filters down to every single employee and Consultant.
This is a culture that enables regular people to do extraordinary things in our own communities, and through our company's foundation, The Prescription for Change (PFC) Foundation.
The PFC partners with buildOn, a non-profit organization based in Stamford, CT, to create life-changing empowerment programs in some of the most under-resourced high schools in the U.S. These programs allow thousands of students to step into their own power and potential each week, through community service and targeted educa
Each year, our company invites Consultants who are actively making a difference in their own communities, to apply for a "ChangeMaker Trip", a 36-hour service immersion program with the students who are served by this program.
When I heard about this opportunity, I was ALL IN. I applied, crossed my fingers, put it smack dab in the middle of my vision board, and waited. And waited some more, while thinking "what are the chances....."
Then, in February, I got a e-mail that I seriously had to read 3 times before it sank in.
I had been selected as one of only 37 Consultants in the ENTIRE FLIPPIN' country, to go on one of these trips.
Holy. Good. Biscuits & Gravy.
I mean, vision-board, bucket-list kinda stuff here, people.
I totally did one of these little herkies all by myself in my kitchen that morning.
For real, y'all.
So in March, right after spring break, I embarked on a life-changing experience with 13 other Rodan + Fields Consultants, home-office employees, and buildOn staff, to work with a small group of students at Carl Schurz High School in the inner city of Chicago.
When we arrived at our hotel, we met our fellow #RFChangeMakers (ok - totally another blog post about THESE incredible people, seriously), got settled in our rooms, and were greeted by this cutest ever coffee mug, and a "ChangeMaker" t-shirt to wear for the next day and a half. (Thank the good Lord, that R+F made our "what to wear" decision painless and easy).
Next, we boarded a bus, and headed to the high school to meet our buddies. We were greeted with hand-made signs, lively cheers, eager high-fives, and were then paired up with a buddy with whom we would get to know and work side-by-side over the next 36 hours. We heard their stories, the issues they face everyday in their school, in their communities, and their personal and family struggles and triumphs.
My buddy was so cool. He's 17 years old, a junior, and his name is Jorge. He was such a joy to hang out with in my 36 hours. He comes from a hard-working family, the oldest of 4 siblings, with a dad who works 2 jobs in the restaurant industry. His work ethic and heart for others is incredible. He is such a sweet, kind spirit. He is joyful, funny, happy, and filled with gratitude. He is involved in lots of activities and clubs in his school, including theater, music, mentoring, and encouraging other students in the school to get involved in buildOn.
Next, we toured their school, including a hydroponic food service lab where the buildOn students volunteer. This lab helps provide fresh vegetables to a local food pantry, and to their own school cafeteria. Amazing! (I know my greenhouse/nursery family would LOVE this stuff!)
We also worked in an after-school program, mentoring younger students with homework and a fun obstacle course activity. Jorge and I did our best to help a cute little 2nd grade girl understand the concept of an actual "clock" - you know, not the digital kind, but the one with hands? Yea, it was a bit comical!
We worked with another group of younger students making sack lunches with encouraging notes for the homeless and practicing kindness by calling out compliments to others in the group who had been caught doing something nice.
We learned about student mission trips to Nicaragua and Haiti that are made possible through buildOn.
As Consultants, we were able to see the big picture of what the partnership between Rodan + Fields and buildOn really does to change lives, and how important this program is for these kids.
We had a chance to ask the students why they got involved in buildOn, and what they love about it. Here's what they had to say ---
"We're like a family"
"To let people we help know we care about them"
"Service is medicine for the selfish world"
"To be the change in the world"
"I don't have much to give, but we can give so much, by giving through service"
"It's the right thing to do"
These students are wise beyond their years, selfless, hard-working, and they "get it". They lack many of the simple things that a lot of us take for granted, but they are happy, content, and they know what's important.
I went into this trip as a Rodan + Fields "ChangeMaker". But here's what I learned -- these students, and thousands of others like them -- THEY are the REAL ChangeMakers.
I think my buddy Jorge said it best as we closed out our 36 hours --
"It's not about the income you make, it's about the impact you make".
Truth, my friend.