Cash is money that's already been spent. I realize that we all have our unique ways of looking at money. For me, cash disappears quickly. I spend it without a thought. Whereas, I carefully consider every charge on my credit card, so I rarely carry cash. As a result, I rarely have change and when I do I put it in the ornate beer mug by the refrigerator. If cash is money that's already been spent, then change is money that's been spent twice over, which is what interested me in a conversation that I had with a friend a few days ago.
She told me that her youngest son always scans the ground for coins. Everywhere they go he finds a nickel or a dime, which he deposits in his piggy bank. Recently Joey transferred his coins from his piggy bank to a clear jar, begging the question, "Why?" My friend wasn't ready for the answer. Joey said it was for tzedakah, the Hebrew word for charity. My friend and her husband had taught Joey and his brother the concept of giving. The boys donate some of their money at Sunday school each weekend, but this wasn't some of his money. This was all of his money, so she asked where are you going to donate your money. He replied Baton Rouge's Woman's Hospital. My friend thought this was a curious choice for a little boy, but Joey told her that they and she were responsible for him being born, probably the most significant moment in his or any of our lives. My friend couldn't argue with that.
Joey donated the change. His small act and his small change, are his goal, complete with pun so you will remember it, to "change" the world. His mission is much bigger: A network for children to collect change for a cause, and encourage others to do the same. Proceeds benefit youth-oriented non-profits such as hospitals, schools, community outreach, etc. He's mobilizing kids to create, decorate and get their own Jars for Change into local businesses. He has presented to schools and businesses.
It's great that Joey is still gathering loose change, but can one boy really bring about change? Former Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan said,
People often ask me what difference one person can make in the face of injustice, conflict, human rights violations, mass poverty and disease. I answer by citing the courage, tenacity, dignity and magnanimity of Nelson Mandela. If just one small part of what he sought to achieve for his fellow human beings is translated into reality, if we live up to just one fraction of the standards he has set for himself, then Africa, and the world, will be a far better place.
During this week when we celebrate the "courage, tenacity, dignity and magnanimity" of a great man, it's also appropriate that we celebrate the bold faith and courage of one boy. Joey A. Roth, whose initials spell JAR, as in Jar for Change, is seven. He's raised more than $2,500 for change and aspires to raise millions.
I went to that beer mug by the fridge to collect money that's been spent twice to donate to Jar for Change. I have to admit that I felt a little pang of worry as I counted out the $50 in change that I will send to Jar for Change. Not so long ago, I dipped into that jar because I needed the money. If some of you are like I was, then I hope prosperity comes your way and that you will soon be able experience the joy of giving to others. As we approach the end of the year, please consider the lesson that Joey and his brother learn every weekend: if we contribute to our community we will make it a better place. Joey, thank you for your search for the little things that most of us miss. Those little things can make a change. Thank you for teaching us that too.
Visit Jar for Change here.
Like Joey, One Revolution also wants to change the world. Our mission is to turn perception of disability upside down.