Many of us sit around with our tribe of close friends and discuss, analyze, complain, dream, and share what inspires us, what tickles us, what enrages us. Our strong feelings fuel the conversation, but so many times, the business of life prevents us from real change, real contribution, or accountable action. I wish I had a wealthy foundation for every time my friends and I have said, “you know what we should do…” I love having conversations generating the tiniest idea to the grandest concept; sparks ignite but rarely catch fire.
There is a group of women that took the sparks of their many conversations and fanned each one’s passion and concerns. Together, the group gathered their flames and has built a roaring bonfire of light and service.
The group of women met just after college as young professionals at a home bible study. A few shared their ideas about what it would look like to serve the disenfranchised from church life and even those who feel disengaged within their organized religion.
Each felt lead to do more and be more and not get settled into careers and the spinning wheel of average living. The gals along with their husbands and friends brainstormed and shared with complete vulnerability. Then they acted on their ideas and did something: Something New.
Something New, founded in 2005, exists with one primary goal: to love people. The secondary purpose, served by their non-profit’s name, honors their mission by always being ready for something new. When a need crosses their path, they respond. With a committed group of over 100 volunteers, Something New jumps in wherever they can to support local Atlanta-based organizations doing good work and creates new projects where they can see a meaningful impact.
Two years ago, they went International with their first global project serving abused and abandoned mothers and children in Peru. In partnership with Nuevo Camino, the name of the Peru Project, the group supports approximately ten mothers and 30 children. Through a vacation to learn Spanish and visit Machu Picchu, they made a connection with the director of a local women’s domestic violence shelter and once they met the women staying at the shelter, they knew they had to do something.
The group now supports approximately 10 mothers and 30 children who are living safely free from violence and fighting and looking ahead at a better life for themselves and their children for something new themselves. The group of ladies traveled and developed sincere friendships with each of the mothers. Members of Something New visit Peru often, leaving their own families or taking the entire family to serve in various ways in Cusco, Peru.
The women from both Peru and Fayette County teach and learn from each other. New ideas, new skills, and shared experiences bond the women of Peru to the women of Something New; but it’s more than that—it doesn’t end at the end of the visit. A volunteer from Something New maybe cooking dinner in their Fayette County kitchen and Skyping with a mother in Peru.
The ladies of Something New give love and support to the mothers and children in Peru every day by keeping the focus on the goal: to love and serve. Skype serves as a rainbow of hope for their futures. Weekly conversations make the world a smaller place for the volunteers and the women in Peru. Through the screens, there continues a meaningful connection where problem-solving and tough conversations with prayers and research going hand in hand.
The belief that everyone has a unique gift to give their fellow humans fans the flame and passion of Becca Armstrong, Gwen Brown, Meredith Bragg, Fontella Pappas, and many others. And it doesn’t end there: families are all in too. Husbands, kids, grandparents, each family member stays open to the idea of serving as a way of life.
The authenticity of these ladies is contagious. Friends who support Something New fuel the organization’s growth but the focus continues to be about making a difference in any way needed. And love leads to each decision. The group’s constant movement circles love in everything they do, and recipients jump in the ring becoming givers themselves.
And while that’s an outcome that can’t be measured, it is no doubt immeasurable.