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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Like Taking Money From A Bear, Man!

I'm taking a slightly different path on my blog this evening. Normally, I write about little slices of my life and thoughts about various subjects. Sometimes these vignettes are funny and sometimes they are serious, and sometimes they are quite sad. Yes, tonight I am writing about my thoughts on a particular subject, but there is a lovely little twist. 

I am one of the millions of people who enjoy social networking on Google+. Like many other people, I have been on Facebook for several years. But I heard about Google+ and decided to check it out. And since my blog is also Google based,  it was easy to post links to my blog there. I started following a few people and seeing other people who seemed interesting that were following the same people I was. One evening one of the ladies I follow on G+ shared a post from one of the people in her circles. The name on the post was Bearman Cartoons, and the post really intrigued and impressed me. Bearman said that in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, he was going to make donations to relief efforts for people affected by this natural disaster. His premise was simple and unique. Instead of starting out by asking others to make donations, his request was this: if you added him to your circles, he would do the same for you and he would donate a certain amount of money to the Red Cross. He would do this up to a certain dollar amount, completely out of his pocket, no strings attached. And if people were able to donate as well, he would match their donations dollar for dollar, up to a certain total donation amount.

I was captivated by this proposition. It seems that our luck here generally runs true to form. Whenever there comes a time that we would like to give to charity or disaster relief, we inevitably find ourselves without two nickels to rub together. I decided that this was a great opportunity for me to make a small contribution toward helping others. I was also humbled that this person, who was a stranger to me, was doing such selfless service for others on behalf of those of us who read his message. A short time later, I was honored to be included in a list he published of people he called "Underappreciated Engagers." Based on my faith in his judgement, I immediately added all of these people to my circles. Many of them have become my friends, something which always enriches a person's life. 

Today I was scrolling through my feed on G+ and saw that Bearman was at it again. One of the ways I could get him to donate to three different charities was by mentioning him in a blog post and giving a link to information about this year's Charity Challenge. This was brilliantly timed as I have been pondering writing about Google+ and my G+ experience. What better way for me to be able to convey a little bit of why it is that I like G+ so much? It is the people in these online communities that draw me there, and Bearman is an excellent representation of the kind of people I have seen here. I have also seen people post on G+ that their vehicle had broken down. Within a very short time, the "plussers" had found someone to help them on their way. Whenever there is a request for help locating a missing child, plussers will get the information around the world in pretty short order. I've also recently seen a beautiful and touching thing - a family was unable to pay their power bill, and the plussers immediately chipped in and prevented a service interruption. And all while still having fun and sharing their stories and cartoons and recipes!

I am hoping that perhaps a few of you will be inspired to help with Bearman's fund raising this year. So today I am asking you to stop by this page and have a look at what inspired me to write this post. Thank you so much, even if all you do as a result of visiting his page is to think about how much we can do for others if we work together. Here's the address: