From MTV Act: Four Young Leaders Speak Out On Why They LIFT

By LIFT on May 6, 2011

Categories: News, Our Work

Posted by Caroline Walker

Exactly one month ago, the poverty-fighting nonprofit LIFT kicked off its second annual WHY I LIFT campaign, asking young volunteers what drives them to get involved serving their local communities.

They answered, sharing powerful stories of working with families who’ve fallen on tough times — real people, not just statistics.

Having grown up watching her parents struggle financially despite their hard work, Janet Ocampo understands what clients are going through. “This is the case for many who come to LIFT,” she says. “They have jobs, but the money that they are earning is simply not enough to survive on.”

Other volunteers use their good fortune as a motivator for giving back. Megan Donovan used to ask herself, “Why do I live in a nice, big house while people are sleeping on the street every day? Why do I have more than enough food while others struggle to get even one meal a day?” She decided to stop feeling guilty and start contributing to the solution.

She teamed up with Kelsey Reeder, her Fordham University classmate, who can relate: “Given the life I was born into and the voice I have in society,” Kelsey says, “I believe it is my moral obligation to give my all and spread awareness about the reality of poverty in the United States.”

The friends took an unconventional route by working and fundraising together. “So much of what goes on at LIFT is attributed to teamwork,” says Megan. They bring their enthusiasm to campus, working to encourage Fordham freshmen to get involved right off the bat.

Molly Friedman LIFTs to put her beliefs into action. “At LIFT, it is not just establishing the issues, but answering, ‘So what are you going to do about it?’ … Three days a week, I get the privilege of sitting down one on one with people and working not for them, but with them.”

There’s still time to help Megan, Kelsey, Janet, Molly and dozens of other LIFT volunteers meet their fundraising goal by Monday. Check out the WHY I LIFT profile pages to learn about volunteers around the country who need your support to keep their projects going strong.