I’ve compared myself to Miss America in only one way–ever. Neither one of us will solve world hunger. If I have been living my life committed to making a difference in the world, how can I get to a point where I believe that I, as a single individual, can do anything to tip the scale in the common good’s favor?

In the non-profit world we seek numbers as validation to understand we are doing good…how many we have served,  how much we have raised so we can serve so many more, how bar graphs rise and fall, how pie charts distribute different serving sizes of the pie. But, those numbers do little to sway my belief in my individual power.

This Labor Day weekend, I am reminded of my work for good. I am hosting a workshop for advanced illustrators for the non-profit division of Highlights for Children, the Highlights Foundation. The core of the Highlights for Children mission is “to help children become their best selves.” The Highlights Foundation produces opportunities like this workshop to help children’s writers and artists develop their craft…to become their best selves. I am surrounded by artists devoted to their craft because they are devoted to inspiring children to read, which will help them become their best selves. Pretty simple and with incredible impact.

“How can I get to a point where I believe that I, as a single individual, can do anything to tip the scale in the common good’s favor?”

Many of the non-profits we work with at DNA Creative Communications focus on school readiness, early education and literacy such as Public Education Partners, Legacy Charter School and United Way. Getting books into the hands of children, helping children develop early reading skills, keeping children up to their reading level to prepare them for success throughout their education and their lives are goals that begin here in the hands of the writers and illustrators. The original word…why that word? The first brush stroke…why there? why that color? why that shape?… all coming together to inspire children…hundreds, thousands, even millions of children.

Wow, that’s individual power.

Caldecott honoree and workshop faculty, illustrator E.B. Lewis, provides a watercolor lesson in color palette creation.

Caldecott honoree and workshop faculty, illustrator E.B. Lewis, provides a watercolor lesson in color palette creation.

I think a big part of my job here this weekend is helping these uniquely talented individuals recognize their individual power. These are some of the best, being taught by some of the best at one of the best locations in the world for nurturing their talent. I’m proud to be here and to witness the magic that is happening as these artists start to become transformed by their power. I am transforming, too. I believe I am more powerful, more of my best self.

Recognizing the power of the individual is strongest when I witness collaboration for the common good, when we come together to support and share. DNA will bring together Greenville non-profits for the third session in the 2013 Shine the Light on Your Non-profit workshop series on September 18. I look forward to seeing your individual power shine as we collaborate for the common good.