I had an interesting bike ride home from a Finnegans meeting tonight.
At the meeting, we discussed our recent fundraiser — Finnegans shamROCK—Banding Together for Charity. A music concert featuring Built to Spill. We raised $10,000 for Heading Home Hennepin, a program to eliminate homelessness in Hennepin County.
The meeting was in Uptown Minneapolis, a fun and trendy area. I live on the north end of Minneapolis and between Uptown and my home is a less than desirable area of Minneapolis. I was tired and hungry, so I decided not to take the bike path, but to drive right through "the hood." It probably wasn't smart or safe since this is where killings and drug deals happen, but I'm like that.
As I'm riding, I'm seeing foreclosed and run down homes. Some homes were brand new, but vacant. Litter was tossed over the streets and the smell of pot surrounded me. The majority of houses had people sitting out on the front porches and kids playing on the sidewalk. People looked at me and I just confidently went along, like I belonged there.
Then I saw this little girl alone on her bike, I looked over and flashed her a smile. She saw me and yelled across the road, "You're ugly!"
Wow. I was surprised! After the initial shock of her comment, I thought, 'what a little twerp, that was rude!' Then a second later, as I looked up and down the streets and saw her daily environment, I was sad for her. I can't imagine she's living in a house full of love or attending a school that inspires her. She's probably been called that several times herself.
Then it struck me, although I felt sad about it, I remembered that I was on my way home from a Finnegans meeting. By volunteering my design skills with Finnegans, I am helping this girl— because Finnegans donates 100% of its profits to at-risk youth and poverty-fighting programs. The programs that can help this little girl.
My sadness turned around because I know that I'm doing what I can to help her and her environment. This little girl, and many kids like her, is the reason I volunteer with Finnegans.
The rest of my ride home was both eye-opening and refreshing.