Making Connections, Why I Love What I Do
Doing community work, being a person that genuinely have an interest in connecting communities and people for a greater good, isn’t easy. Most times you are not compensated for all the work you put in. Your emotions and life are fully dedicated to the work, and most importantly, the people. My volunteer work with ORNG Ink is the most fulfilling. The zine is an off shoot of that community work. It is an ORNG Ink collaborative, a way to engage, promote, educate, and everything else that goes into making the zine and other events.
Part of the zine proceeds go back into the artist-in-residence programming at ORNG Ink. Being able to do things like that mean the world to me. Sometimes all of this can be a struggle., but there are certain moments that remind me of why I do what I do. I mentioned last week on the blog that I may have connected with a possible jewelry sponsor for the fashion show, Joanne Douds. I stopped by her booth at North Jersey Pride Festival. She was selling her daughter’s jewelry, “A Look in the Mirror”. Each of the pieces are one-of-a-kind and made with top-quality materials. So much variety, pearls, links, stones and even marble. I’d add pictures but I do not want to spoil it for the fashion show in August.
Later I learned that her daughter, Holly started designing earrings at 13 years old and initially all proceeds went to charitable organizations. Now, 25, she continues to design pieces (necklaces, bracelets, etc.) with love in mind. She lives abroad and sends her mother pieces to sell at festivals, and pop-up shops. No online store, so she can connect with people on a more personal level. That is what I liked, so I made sure to follow up. Those are the kinds of stories and connections I live for. It is not about the money, it is about the connections.
I spoke to Joanne today and after discussing business she says to me, “it’s a blessing we met. I have always wanted to work in fashion.” She is finally being able to exercise another passion of hers, with her daughter’s jewelry and still following in the pattern of helping and connecting communities. This, for me, is what it is all about. I attended the North Jersey Pride Festival to represent and support ORNG Ink and masConsumption and at the same time I further built my network, and still at the community level. It feels good. It makes me happy. It reminds me that there’s a reason for everything.