Do you find yourself wanting to giveback but just don’t know where, how or even what? We are thrilled to have Trang Green as part of The Well Today community. This mama knows how to balance mom-life, running her own nonprofit and traveling the world with her sweet little family. She’s the bomb, ya’ll. And today she’s sharing with us her wisdom on how we can be a part of the generosity generation. This woman knows how to giveback in a mighty way, and we hope she inspires you as much as she has empowered us.
-The Women of the Well
My family immigrated to the United States before I was a year old as refugees from Vietnam. With literally only the clothes on their backs and my older sister and I on each hip they started a new adventure in America. They did not know the language, culture or the Oklahoma weather. They were in a bit of shock the first time they ever saw snow! But one thing they did understand was the love of Jesus Christ and what the Bible promised them in this new country. Love and generosity.
The church and community helped my parents learn English, find work, stock the pantry with groceries and most importantly show them what true giving meant. So many other nonprofits gave to us for school supplies, clothing for every season, even presents at Christmas. There really wasn’t a way my parents could afford to care for 5 kids without a community of givers. When our family grew with more siblings, so did the generosity. It seemed like at every obstacle my parents faced, the Lord provided an answer. That’s what generosity is. It doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t happen when you think it will. It just happens. It’s relentless faith from generous people, who continually pour from their time and finances to help people. That’s what we are called to do.
Growing up in school, I volunteered for everything they would let me. Habitat for Humanity, Special Olympics, tutoring at inner city schools and even being THAT person who offered to do a can food drive in class. All I wanted to do was to give back to the community that gave so much to my parents and our family.
After I graduated college, I felt called to continue assisting others. I worked in nonprofits for years and that gave me peace and purpose. After I got married, I knew I wanted to start my own nonprofit and was praying for guidance. I was reading an article on the incarceration of women in Oklahoma and that spoke to me. We incarcerate more women in Oklahoma that anywhere in the world. It was weighing heavy on my heart. The women, their children who were in foster care or being raised by other family members.
That’s when Dress for Success Oklahoma City was founded in 2015. Dress for Success is empowering women to get on a path that they are excited about and what they were destined to do. We work with women who are referred to us from shelters, prisons, halfway houses and a many other government agencies. Our organization helps with resume buidling, clothing for job interviews, scholarships for school and a monthly women’s meeting. It’s been a blessing to see what amazing mothers they are and what they are willing to do for their children to have a stable home.
I get asked a lot about how to start a nonprofit, volunteering, philanthropy and how to be more generous. Here is my advice for that.
Be intentional in being generous
True generosity is giving and asking nothing in return. Yes, we all want a tax write off. Yes, we want people to know you are kind. Ask yourself these questions:
Am I giving out of pity?
Am I giving out of obligation?
Am I giving for my own benefit?
Be generous in your character.
Generosity shouldn’t come once a year at Christmas or a requirement with your school or church. Loving people who need your prayers and help cannot be sporadic, it should be consistent. Challenge yourself so it can be apart of your character. The person you are daily reflects how you give.
Be generous out of love not out of excess.
When it comes to giving don’t just give because you have leftovers, give because its our duty to love others. In the book of Mark, there is a story of the poor widow who gave 2 copper coins, worth only a few cents, for her offering. Many rich people threw large amounts for offerings. Jesus responded with “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything-all she had to live on.”
You don’t have to be rich to be generous. At the end of the day what we think is ours is truly a blessing from above. Giving it to others who need it most is not so hard when it’s not really yours to keep. Whether it is clothing, monetary, volunteering or just prayer; give with all your heart and all your love.