When our founder, Jacqueline Wilson, was naming the project she knew that she wanted the project to be an example for others to want to help do something–not just SEE the needs in Appalachia, but actually take action and DO. She wanted the non-profit to inspire others to help Appalachian families.
When “Monkey See, Monkey Do” came to mind, Jacqueline knew that she had a name. She kept the action part of it (“do”) and made it into The Monkey Do Project.
I believe everyone has a calling.
A cleaning lady told me one time that cleaning houses was her “calling” and not just a job. She said that her calling was to help people feel less stressed in their lives and a clean house was one way to do that. Maybe your calling is ministry or writing or music or driving a bus.
My calling is to help the people in the Appalachian Region.
It’s difficult to say exactly when my awareness of the poverty in the Appalachian region started. I grew up spending holidays and long, sweet summers in the Appalachian valleys in Southwestern Virginia. It wasn’t until much later that I understood that the dilapidated homes and trailers, outhouses, and dirty kids without shoes was a way of life for many of those in that region–many who were poverty-stricken.
My need to “help” people in Appalachia was always there. As a child, riding in the car on vacations from my home state of Indiana to Southwestern Virginia, I remember grumblings–an uneasiness–inside my young body while watching rusted mobile homes perched precariously on hillsides pass by. Who were those people–the ones with outhouses as bathrooms and small gardens growing much of the only food they will have to eat? I know now that the uneasiness I was feeling was the seed being planted in me–a seed for service to the people of Appalachia.
A lifetime later, as the clock wound down on 1999 and a new century was upon us, my husband and I moved out of Northern Virginia, a metro-D.C. area, and further out into (what is considered) “the country” up there. (Although, if you’ve ever been to the country, you know that 60 miles outside of the District of Columbia really isn’t “the country.”) I now realize that God was placing me in a path to fulfill my service. We were only a few hours from the Appalachia region of many states–Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, North Carolina. From there, I would’ve had a “home base” that was central to several of the poorest areas of that region of the Appalachia.
Inside, I knew I was supposed to be doing something–that urgency, that tugging, that longing was still there. However, I was too busy wrapped up in my own life and things that made me happy (or at least Ithought made me happy). Who had time for other people when there was so much of myself to think about?
Fast-forward several more years–many trials, an unexpected baby, and many hard lessons learned later–and here I am. At 43 years old, I’m finally fulfilling what I’ve always known I’m supposed to do.
I would be honored if you would join me on this journey.