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My first day at Becky’s Fund seems like a distant dream, and yet remains rather vivid in my memory today. It was my very first job in a professional environment and I was overwhelmed to say the least. How would I fit into the non-profit world? Would I fit in at all? What should I wear? These questions, both serious and trivial, filled my head that Monday morning on April 2 as I boarded the train from Greenbelt and headed towards the city. Though a native Washingtonian (okay, honestly, I’m from the ’burbs), my trips into the city were typically reserved for sight-seeing and school field trips in grade school.
This time, I wasn’t going to see the giant pandas at the National Zoo. No. I was determined to at least pretend that I was a fashionable and ambitious young woman in the city, even if it was just for six months. As I walked down M Street, I felt a bit like Mary Tyler Moore minus a kicky theme song and that awesome beret.
Looking back, as corny as I may have been, I’m happy that I came to Becky’s Fund with a positive outlook. From the outside, working at an anti-domestic violence non-profit doesn’t seem like the most lighthearted job. I even heard it from my friends and family. “Won’t that be depressing?” they said. “How do you know what you’re doing will make a difference?” And they had every right for posing these questions, especially the last one. How do I know that I have made a difference?
The answer is that I never will know. I may go the rest of my life never knowing if a particular survivor was able to leave her abusive boyfriend, or if a teenage girl heard our message before the violence could escalate. But I go to bed every night knowing that whatever work I did, even on tasks with a seemingly small outcome, was a part of a larger movement. It’s this sort of attitude that is the driving force behind grassroots activism. We must see the forest for the trees in order for change to happen.
I leave confidently, knowing that I am equipped to continue to this movement. I may be elsewhere, but my roots will always remain firmly planted at Becky’s Fund.