Ok I didn’t really hitchhike to D.C., but it seems like every time I stuck my thumb out to ask for help with this journey, someone was there to pick me up.
I am a 20-year-old college student at a very expensive private university, which means, I have no money. However, I have big dreams that tend to cost more money than I have. My latest dream was to attend Ecumenical Advocacy Days in Washington D.C..
When I started to consider how much this trip was going to cost I got a little overwhelmed. About $400 for airfare, $160 in conference registration alone, hotel for 3 nights, food money for at least lunch and dinner for 5 days, and other miscellaneous costs like ground transportation. After assessing what I thought the trip was going to cost it was time for me to get very serious about fundraising.
Luckily, some friends had told me that there are people out there just waiting to give money to young adults who are doing something. So I started on what I thought would be the most expensive component, my cross country flight from LAX to Washington D.C.. I ended up getting a scholarship for my airfare and conference registration through the Lutheran sponsors of the Ecumenical Advocacy Days. By giving my info and explaining why I wanted to attend they agreed to pay for almost half of my trip.
The next step was my lodging costs. My college has a program where each student is able to access $250 a year to attend conferences by going through a short application process. After asking around and filling out a few applications, I was able to have my entire trip funded by generous organizations who were excited to help young adults be active in faith and justice issues.
The conference was invaluable to my education and my faith. I was able to advocate on Capitol Hill with other Oregonians who had made the trip and wanted to advocate on behalf of their religious beliefs and values. The best part was that we were all representing different denominations, but advocating for the same things.
This wonderful experience was afforded to be by many people who believed in what I was doing and wanted to support me, and there are many more where they came from. There are people willing to help you with your big dream if you just stick your thumb out and ask for help.(CC)