During my early childhood, my mom suffered from debilitating stomach problems and depression. It was something that was hard to understand at the time, and I desperately wanted to help her. There were many days she couldn’t do more than get together a meal for us and lie back down on the couch until the next meal.

When she signed me up for Brownies, I poured through the Brownie booklet and found an amazing little story (and now I’m dating myself – this may not even be in today’s materials!) about the Brownies – magical little people who did good deeds around the house during the night like mend the shoes or fix broken things. And I thought, I can do that! So I did. I woke up before everyone else and washed dishes, or folded clothes, or set the table. And my mom would wake up and say, “Who did this?” and of course I would say mysteriously, “I don’t know… maybe it was the Brownies!”

And that experience shaped my life in many ways, because I learned that going above and beyond for someone else is one of the greatest sources of joy in life. I learned that although I couldn’t fix EVERYTHING, I could fix SOME things. And that even if I can’t save the world, I CAN make the world around me better.