Disease, abuse, and extreme poverty amongst children are never easy problems to tackle. There are at least two psychological barriers.
The first barrier is confronting the reality of what’s going on. We don’t like to be reminded that 5000 children die every day because they have no access to clean water. We wish we did not live in a world where, in the state of Georgia (my home state) alone, 7200 men purchase sex with a child every month — or where, in South Africa, 70,000 babies are born with AIDS every year. Yet we do live in such a world, and sometimes we need to be reminded of the facts. Getting involved means getting an education — an education we’d often rather not have.
The second barrier is our own despair at how intractable and insurmountable these problems can seem. Can our own efforts make even the slightest dent? When the problems before us are so massive, it’s terrible to contemplate them and tempting to throw up our hands and believe we can’t make a difference.
This is why IAM2.ORG is so very important. It confronts the first barrier by telling us not only of the challenges and horrors faced by many children around the world, but by telling us also of the most innovative and effective organizations delivering them from their disease, their oppression and their destitution. The team at Iam2.org will find, vet, and present to you the best nonprofits serving children here in the United States and elsewhere around the world. You’ll have the opportunity not only to support those nonprofits in tangible ways, but to be a part of their story. We believe that creating deep and lasting relationships between these nonprofits and their supporters will benefit both parties and, most of all, benefit the children they serve.
IAM2.ORG confronts the second barrier by multiplying the power of the courageous individual. When you determine that you will support a certain endeavor, we will give you the tools to make your compassion viral. Iam2.org is just getting off the ground, but the plans we have are extensive — and exciting. When I saw what Dan Bowling, the founder, had planned, I was deeply impressed. Social networks, viral movements, and the power of the internet to cast information in front of millions of people instantaneously are changing the ways in which a single courageous individual can rally the support of hundreds, thousands, even tens of thousands of people just like him who see an urgent need and want to respond.
That’s why I chose to get involved. My name is Timothy Dalrymple, and I’ll be directing the content that appears at this page. I didn’t need another job. But I saw the potential of IAM2.ORG and I absolutely had to do what I could to help it reach its potential. I hope you’ll come along for the ride. Here are three snippets of conversation that illustrate why this is, I believe, such an exciting time to get involved:
FIRST — I spoke recently with Mark Brinkmoeller of the ONE Campaign in Washington DC, and with Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson, about the evolution of AIDS treatment. Did you know that a simple medication can now prevent the transmission of AIDS from a mother to her child? Or to take a more recent development: Did you know that recent studies show that circumcision dramatically decreases the chances of acquiring and communication the HIV virus — at about the same effectiveness rate as a vaccine? With these and other developments, including studies on microbicides and the effectiveness of early treatment, we finally have the power to substantially decrease the number of people with AIDS around the world. Until now, for all our efforts, the number of people with AIDS was still growing. For every person treated, two more got the disease. But no longer. As Gerson put it in his column November 10th: “After 30 years and 30 million funerals, the end of the global AIDS epidemic is suddenly, unexpectedly, within sight.”
SECOND — Over 1.1 billion people around the world lack access to clean drinking water — but new technologies could make this problem a thing of the past. Previously, purifying water on a large scale required heavy, expensive equipment and an infrastructure for electricity. The places that most needed water purification were also the places with the least infrastructure and the least economic resources to pay for the equipment. Children and women would walk for many miles to get clean drinking water, and even the ‘clean’ water they got was often not clean. But take a look at Water of Life’s village project, which employs a technology developed by my friend Steve Yencho, probably the most brilliant man I’ve ever met, to can bring water to the most remote villages that’s just as clean as the water you get from your faucet. Or look at Compassion’s new (unrelated) “Water of Life” program. For the first time in our lifetimes, there is a clear path to clean drinking water for everyone in the world, and it won’t take electricity and it won’t take trillions of dollars.
THIRD — I recently met with Amy Walters, the Programs Director at Street GRACE in Atlanta. Street GRACE came together when local pastors recognized that Atlanta is a hub for the sexual exploitation of children. Children (in most cases) run away and find themselves lured, manipulated and forced into prostitution. The founders of Street GRACE did not want to duplicate the efforts of other organizations already addressing child sex slavery, so they harness the powers and the resources of Christian churches to strengthen those organizations and make them even more effective. The abolition of human- and sex-trafficking is quickly becoming one of the great causes of the American church, and it’s one where Christians can work together with people of other faiths or no faith at all. Rightly directed, rightly equipped, this could be the abolition movement of this generation.
These are big problems facing children here and around the world — massive problems, where people of lesser courage would wash their hands and walk away. But courageous men and women are answering the call — and courageous supporters are believing that they can make a difference. IAM2.ORG is designed to harness that courage, harness that compassion, and make it more effective. When we bind compassionate men and women together, when we give them the power to leverage their influence and multiply their impact, they can transform the world.
That’s why I’m getting involved. Check back often as we reveal the inner workings of the IAM2 engine, and how exactly this will change the way in which nonprofits are supported and how the nonprofits and their supporters share the challenge, share the story and share the blessings of changing the world.
Until now, the worst things have been viral. Now we have the power to make what is best in us viral instead. So let’s do it. Let’s get about the business of making compassion viral. The world can be changed for the better when groups of committed individuals work together to make a difference — and that’s what IAM2.ORG is all about.