“It doesn’t matter who you are, what you are, what you want out of life. It’s not about politics. It’s not about religion. It’s about humanity.”
Jeny Crouch didn’t claim Summer 2012 as her time to kick back and relax. Instead, she decided to lead a charge that began in Austin, but has spread literally around the world.
From June 20th to September 21st, Jeny is volunteering at least one hour every week to Moving Difference, a loose movement with a profound purpose.
Originally, Jeny intended Moving Difference to be for her family and friends to serve their communities and make a difference. But as of July 10th, when the numbers were last crunched, over 5,700 volunteer hours had been donated by normal people all over the world. By the way, Moving Difference was all of three weeks old on July 10th.
Moving Difference participants are a diverse bunch, but they have one thing in common: they’re all regular people like you and me. A group in El Paso, TX organized a blood drive and collected more than 800 pints of blood. A teacher in Barcelona, Spain has challenged her students to participate in Moving Difference and reach a set goal of volunteer hours. If the students reach their goal, their teacher is going to dress up as Lady Gaga. There’s a young girl participating in Turkey, families in Brazil, Germany, England, Venezuela…you get the picture. But this all began in Austin, TX.
When we met with Jeny, she was volunteering at Willie Nelson’s 1st Annual Celebrity Golf Tournament. The proceeds of the tournament went to the Pedernales Fire Department, Helping Hand Ministries of Spicewood, RunTex Foundation and The Children’s Music Foundation of Austin.
Jeny had just come from a CPR training course that morning, where 25 Austinites learned how to respond in an emergency. Jeny ran late for our interview at the golf tournament, and explained that the logistics of the day hadn’t gone as she planned. Nonetheless, she had a spring in her step and jokes to share. She mentally switched from the chaos of the day to passionately telling us about Moving Difference.
What Can You Do?
If you’re feeling an inclination to get involved in Moving Difference, don’t ignore it. Think about all of the time you spend in traffic during the week, or watching television. Perhaps you can take just one of those hours to clean up trash around Austin, or call your favorite charity and ask how you can help. It could be as simple as checking in on your elderly neighbor, watering the plants and sitting to chat for a while.
Jeny insists that “Moving Difference is different for every person.” If you want to get involved, “just do it.” Jeny doesn’t have any say over what volunteering looks like to you, and she really doesn’t seem to care. The important part to her is that you’re getting out from your regular routine, into the world where people need help. Individuals as young as 3 and as old as 90 have taken part in Moving Difference this summer. Why can’t you?
On September 21st when Moving Difference 2012 ends, all participants are invited to gather wherever they are in the world to watch the sunset. This is a simple way to celebrate their contributions and enjoy a sense of community. Jeny and everyone in Austin will be gathering at RunTex on Riverside for the sunset soiree!
If you can’t wait until September 21st to meet other Austinites participating in Moving Difference, your opportunity is September 8th. Meet at RunTex at 8 AM on September 8th for Silly Hat, Big Clean. The concept is simple and fun. Wear a silly hat; do some clean up of the surrounding area.
In closing, I want to stress how easy it is for you to get involved in this. You don’t have to have done any volunteering in your life. You don’t have to volunteer in the way that “everyone else” does. Be active in whatever capacity you feel you should.
Just like Moving Difference, Jeny is accessible and fun. I laughed when she told us, “I’m not Mother Teresa of Texas.” Despite the countless hours she’s put into Moving Difference, as the organizer and as a volunteer herself, her motivation and excitement stays contagious.
“I don’t think I’m a humanitarian,” Jeny insisted. “I’m just pointing and saying, ‘Let’s go do this together.'”
Are you thinking about getting involved in Moving Difference before the summer is over?