Author: Alli Gage, 2018
Each year, TPG supports team member involvement with worthy charitable causes and donates in kind service expertise that dramatically impacts each organization through our Purpose Beyond Profit initiative. TPG also encourages its team members to spend time outside of work in their communities and abroad to provide additional community involvement, truly putting our values into action. Here is Alli’s story…
“At the end of the day it’s not about what you have or even what you’ve accomplished… it’s about who you’ve lifted up, who you’ve made better. It’s about what you’ve given back.” – Denzel Washington
TPG Consultant Alli Gage, has had the opportunity to travel to Guatemala with For the Love of Mateo (FTLOM) on separate mission trips. For the Love of Mateo is a registered Non For Profit founded in 2012 by Valerie Edwards to help financially support orphanage Hogar Luz de Maria, which took care of her son prior to his adoption in 2010. FTLOM has now expanded to support 11 other organizations in Guatemala including the Bunk Bed Project, different educational and residential programs.
“I’ve always been passionate about volunteering and giving back in my community. Since a young age I’ve assisted many groups and organizations supporting kids, teens, the homeless and animals. I had always dreamed of volunteering abroad but was scared of the unknown and unsure how to pick an organization. After learning about Valerie’s organization and seeing the incredible work being done – I was inspired and signed up before my fear set in.
On my first mission trip to Guatemala we worked directly with 6 different organizations and were able to make a large impact by providing love, donations and supplies to each group. We spent 2 days with the kids from Hogar Luz de Maria, hosted a picnic lunch and games outing for grades 3 to 8 from Esperanza Juvenil, funded Christmas dinner for 500 people at Chimaltenango City Dump through One Way Ministries, led activities with Ninos con Bendicion and Village of Hope and provided 24 bunk beds, 11 stoves and 28 water filters to residents of Yalu! It was truly a Mission of Love and would provide lasting benefits long after our trip ended.
It was especially life-changing to serve in a country where the things we take for granted are truly a luxury. The bunk beds we built were for children who have never had a bed to sleep on so experiences such as a trip to the zoo or movies was a big deal. But what was more important for the children was the attention and love they received from interacting with the volunteers. It really stood out that the children just wanted to be close to us – they all wanted to be carried, to hold hands or even simply sit closely. They wanted to feel safe and loved.
As the week went on it became more and more apparent why having positive and caring adult role models is of the upmost importance for children who have been the victim of long-term physical, sexual and emotional abuse. Heartbreaking stories that could crush you if you didn’t meet the incredible and resilient children to which they belong and the amazing people who have created these valuable organizations for change.
My experience with FTLOM opened my eyes and heart and showed me a love for the world I didn’t know before. I encourage everyone to find their passion for serving others by finding organizations and causes that speak to them. It’s powerful to think that there is no need to wait or to be qualified – we all have the ability to start changing the world today. There is no act too small for if you change one life, you change the world forever!”
Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “What are you doing for others?” – MLK Jr.