Mandela Day is just days away. As we launch a global initiative to package millions of meals in Mandela’s honor, we spoke with Dawn Miller, Stop Hunger Now volunteer and president of the Rotary Club of Grande Prairie in Alberta, Canada, about what Mandela Day means to her.
Q: What impact does Nelson Mandela’s legacy and what he stands for have on you as an individual?
A: Since I was younger when the Apartheid was going on, I believe it shaped me to understand that there is a big world out there, and I wanted to be a part of that. My generation was one of the first to hear about these global issues that way. I wanted to learn more about different cultures. I am now more of a global citizen.
Q: What do you think today’s generation can do to address the world’s social injustices?
A: In Grande Prairie we have “Mighty Peace Youth for Change.” We are starting grassroots in the schools, getting kids involved and teaching them how they can volunteer and be part of the global community. Our Rotary Club is setting up a day for youth to volunteer so they can get their hours to go to “Mighty Peace Day,” where we bring in speakers and mentors. It is important to help them realize the world and get out of their bubble and where they live.
Q: How is volunteering and being in service to others a part of your life?
A: I have always volunteered. When my kids were growing up, I was more involved in volunteering with their activities, but now I have time to volunteer doing what means most to me– international volunteering, and with youth and with the elderly. I like to volunteer because I am able to–not everyone is able to or has the time. It is a small amount of my time, but even if it is a small part of my day or week I like to be able to.
Q: Mandela has a famous quote where he challenges the next generation by saying “It is in your hands to make our world a better one for all.” How do you answer that call and make every day Mandela Day?
A: We use that quote for “Mighty Peace for Change.” I like to read The Four Agreements [written by Don Miguel Ruiz] as a reminder:

  1. Be Impeccable with your Word.
  2. Don’t take Anything Personally.
  3. Don’t Make Assumptions
  4. Always Do Your Best.

Every so often I remind myself of these. It is important to remember the end goal, whatever that may be.

Please visit our Mandela Day page to find out how you can participate, and follow the conversation on social media using the hashtags #MandelaDay and #FollowTheSun.

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