Today’s post comes from Courtney Clark. Courtney is a cancer survivor and brain aneurysm survivor. At the same time Courtney was dealing with her health crises, she founded the nonprofit Austin Involved. For her work in the community, Courtney has been honored with the Leadership Austin Ascendant Award, and was also recognized by Austin Monthly magazine as one of “20 in their 30s” and by GivingCity magazine as one of the “New Philanthropists.” Courtney received her Masters Degree in Philanthropy from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.
Putting Your Heart Into It
Have you ever had your heart in two places? I have. For several years, I’ve juggled two major passions, and I finally found a way to integrate them both. When I found myself at graduate school getting my Masters degree in philanthropy, I had a hard time trying to decide on a research question that would captivate me for the next several years. Two years seemed like a LONG time to be committed to a single passion.
I decided to consider BOTH of the things I’m most passionate about: survivorship and philanthropy. I am a two-time cancer survivor and a brain aneurysm survivor, so that explains my interest in survivorship. I am also a community leader and former nonprofit entrepreneur, which is where that angle comes in. I realized that I wanted to know the answer to the question “What is the role of philanthropy in helping people heal from traumatic life events?”
People often give back and get involved after going through a trauma themselves. But I wanted to know why. Is there a right way to be a volunteer? Is there a WRONG time and place to get involved? How does giving of your time or money actually help you heal? When I finished with the research for my graduate degree, I realized that I had something more on my hands. I recognized that within my research I could tease out a model that would help trauma survivors of all kinds make their way into the world of philanthropy, so they could reap all of the positive benefits of giving back and avoid the pitfalls.
This month my new book, “The Giving Prescription: A Personal Plan for Healing Through Helping,” is available to trauma survivors, and I’m excited about the possibilities for helping people all over the world. The model rests on eight questions that trauma survivors can ask themselves as they travel along the healing trajectory. The questions are designed to help trauma survivors think about the implications of getting involved in philanthropy, and help them choose options they may be ready for no matter in what stage of healing they currently find themselves.
The amazing thing about writing a book like “The Giving Prescription” is that I feel like writing it was, in a way, a way for me to personally end my healing. As I was doing this research, I felt like I HAD to share this knowledge with other survivors, to help make their path just a little easier than mine was. That’s exactly the same experience my research showed is common – that going through a trauma often makes people want to change the world for the better, so no one else has to suffer. So I guess, in the end, I proved my own point!
CLICK HERE to purchase “The Giving Prescription”