My main in goal in life, albeit very broad, has always been to help people. At the University of Rutgers, I have been studying Criminal Justice and Religion and desire to enter the field of Social Work once I graduate. I realized I needed an internship to further my career but I didn’t want to be an intern that just gets coffee for someone doing actual work. I wanted an opportunity to actually show my skills and make a real impact. This is exactly what Friends of Orphans Uganda (FRO) presented me with and for that I would like to immediately thank Ricky, AJ, Andrew and everyone else that made it possible.
I wanted to incorporate aspects of my life into the work I did for FRO. Immediately at the start of the semester, I had the idea to have something I could constantly have on my person that would allow me to provide information to people I would meet throughout the school year, possibly a pamphlet of some sort. But I myself received a pamphlet from a here un-named organization that sat in my backpack for a few days, unread, until I eventually threw it away. I didn’t want the same for the work I was doing. I also realized I was more moved and/or convinced by an organization when an actual person was telling me their mission, not just lifeless words on paper. Originally, I had planned for one of my fundraisers to incorporate my love of mixed martial arts. I had planned with my Joshu (instructor) for him to come to Rutgers and teach a basic self defense seminar for whoever wished to attend. I had flyers made up and the date set, but unfortunately, reserving the space proved more difficult than imagined and our plans fell through.
I began to notice that around my campus an initiative to help Eric LeGrand, and injured football player, by selling rubber bracelets with his name and a small slogan on them. It was massively successful raising funds for his medical operations and everyone knew his story. This is what I wanted to achieve, and I realized it fit my earlier criteria for something small that I could generate income from, have a mass quantity of, and use to dispense information, so I set out to replicate their success. I ordered a couple hundred bracelets that said “Uganda – A Friend of Orphans.” I sold these to people for two dollars each and at the same time would tell them about the crisis and FRO using my own knowledge. It was a rousing success, with my classmates, fraternity brothers and sisters, professors and random passerby’s buying them. One major success was when I attended a social work seminar and sold the bracelets there.