Today’s good deed for me was symbolic of the misconceptions many hold about being homeless. When doing the good deed I wasn't really considering how I felt, but how I could help the man Ben and I were talking to in the moment. I think that as a society we often overlook people who don't fit into the arbitrary boxes we set. But after getting to talk to him today I feel that each person has a story and history that needs to be heard, because in order to build an empathetic and philanthropic community their needs to be a base of story and narrative telling.
*him refers to the “homeless” man Ben and I presented with $20.
For me it was quite eye opening, because it gave me a perspective of what it was to fall so far. while that was the case, It was also quite fulfilling to give and to make someone else's day a little bit brighter. I think people give because they want to give back to the community in a meaningful way, or they like the feeling that giving has.
I found your group's story very interesting as well. I think its a common misconception that homeless people aren't smart enough or motivated enough to make money but this is clearly not the case.
This was interesting. While I'm sure that the food and clothing we gave to a homeless man improved his day, I found the experience awkward. Awkward in that we both understood the strange dynamic of having a high students from a private school scout out an adult who looked "homeless" and give to him as charity. He excepted graciously and thanked us, but his embarrassment was palpable and I felt awful to have put him in a position of dependence towards someone so much younger than him.
I also think that people give either because they have a specific cause in mind that they think that they can effect. Or because they enjoy the "feeling" of giving.
Do you think this interaction has to be awkward?
This was a key issue in our "good deed," as we recognized our position of privelege, and were outwardly seeking people in a position below our own. This feels patronizing and condescending to any person we might have helped.
I also felt the same way. I felt like I would come off as pitying the homeless man or that he would just feel completely disrespected and belittled. It was also weird having to "pick" a man who we thought was homeless out of the group of people at the bus stop, as we had to make assumptions. This made the experience a little bit awkward for me.
Normally doing a "good deed" leaves me feeling satisfied with my choices and decisions, however being in a situation where the "good deed" did not happen naturally, rather I was actively supposed to create an opportunity to be a "good person," feels somewhat ingenuine. I do think the good deed was helpful on the other end of the situation and that is ultimately all that matters, however as the "philanthropist" in this situation, I felt very guilty in the reasoning behind my actions.
I think people give for several different reasons. In some cases I think people give in order to compensate for their privilege, where in other cases I think people give because they are thankful for what has been given to them. But most often, I think people are willing to give when they have the resources to heal an injustice they are passionate about.
do you think it felt ingenuine because it was a mandated thing for you to do? or because you were given the money? also, do you think the recipient of the money knew it wasn't of your own accord? and if so, would they care?
I somewhat agree in that the good deed felt almost forced and kind of awkward because it wasn't natural. Instead, scouting out someone to help seemed a little bit forward and rude.
Thinking about the connection between a philanthropist and the group/person they are helping, is it "all that matters" that someone is helped regardless of your personal feelings?
I found myself thinking a lot about how hard this really was. This was surprising because Sean and I had a lot of ideas about what we should do but first encountered problems when we couldn't decide which of our many ideas would be the most beneficial for us and the community and and would do "the most good". Eventually we settled on paying for people's bus rides as that is something we thought would have had a positive affect on people's days, we encountered our second problem, actually giving them out. The problem wasn't with our inability to try to distribute the transfers, but with most people not wanting to accept them. There were probably quite a wide variety of reasons for this but it was a little disconcerting that our good deed wasn't having the intended impact. However, we finished our trip by giving our last ticket to a woman who's face lit up with happiness and appreciation when she realized what we were doing. Then a block away from Lick we saw a homeless man who I decided to give the remaining money to, a good call because he kissed the money when he received it.
While the experience of buying the man food felt rewarding, the first thing we tried to do felt awkward and strange. When we walked into the OMI family center I thought this would be a good experience, but with not a lot prepared for what we were going to say, we walked in said hi followed by "do you guys take donations" which kind of felt strange and weird to be asking with out knowing much about the organization. But with the man who we bought food for I felt much better because we not only bought food for him, but also got to know him and talked to him which felt much more rewarding than just giving money to an organization we knew little about.
Would it have been beneficial to learn more about the organization?
I defiantly felt like I was stepping out of my comfort zone whilst doing the good deed for the homeless man infront of target. When we went into the OMI family center, I felt completely normal going into the building and talking to the employee there, asking if they accepted donations. However with the homeless man it was more stressful as we didn't know how he would react or if he was actually homeless. Not wanting to offend him, we approached him in a polite way to try to avoid condescending him. He was very thankful for our offer and we were able to do a great deed for this man. I felt very grateful for what we did after it was over as I knew I had positively impacted his life without going to far out of my way. I think that it is this positive feeling and willingness to better serve and help your community is why most people are motivated to give to others.
Was going outside of your comfort zone alright with you? Did it contribute to or take away from the experience?
Having shared the same experience I felt the opposite I felt that going into OMI felt much more forced and awkward, where as talking to and giving money to the homeless man felt like we were just doing the good thing.
Going out and performing the deed felt somewhat forced, as we were presented with an unusual situation. We had very little time, which required us to think and act quickly. Nevertheless, paying for other people's bus fare was a nice decision, as we could reach out to many people in a small but meaningful way. Those who accepted one were grateful, and one man even tried to pay us. Some people declined, unsure what to think. Plus, it is possible that people might be skeptical of our actions. We humans are often caught of guard by nice deeds, as they can be rather infrequent. Additionally, the deed Maurice and I performed was quite relevant to the experience that I shared in class, when the muni driver covered my fare. In a way, I was reciprocating what other person had done for me. I believe this to be an outstanding reason why people give. Perhaps they themselves were in a difficult situation, and they received something - be it temporary relief, improvement, etc. In turn, they would like to do they same thing for someone that is in the same position.
I agree. It did feel a little forced. Usually when I think about giving/philanthropy I don't consider it to have a time constraint and becuase someone said you have to.
I think that the last point you make about how one good deed by someone will hopefully lead to more creating a domino effect, is very true. At least myself am inspired to do something good for a person after someone does something good for me.
I understand your feeling of the giving being "forced" and that the entire experience felt a little staged.
In response to why people give, I am in agreement with Sean in that I believe people's own experiences push them to give to similar situations they have once been in. It is to me, the most simple and pure form of philanthropy; giving back because of what has been given to you.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.