Have you or your family been looking for ways to serve others or make a difference in our city? Maybe it was your New Years resolution to find an area of volunteer work that you or your children could be involved in? Often I hear about an issue and I think, “But what can I do about that right here and right now?” Sometimes we have great intentions, but we don’t know who to ask or where to start. There’s an amazing conference happening in our city in a few weeks that might be able to lead you in the right direction and I wanted to share a little bit of info about it.
The faith-based Marked Conference will be happening in OKC at the Farmers Market on March 2 and is FREE to the public. (There are ticket prices for the full access pass but you can still visit the booths and hear the speakers for free. For more details see the website) The goal of Marked is to help marginalized women locally and globally: incarcerated woman, victims of abuse, teen mothers, human trafficking victims, refugees, etc. We often hear stories on the news about these issues and think they are happening somewhere else but they are happening in our city. Oklahoma City has one of the largest human trafficking rings in our country due to our central location and intersection of major interstates. We have the highest number of incarcerated women in the nation and the majority of them are victims of abuse. Over 200 refugees are settled into OKC every year. To learn more about how you can help locally or globally come be a part of this seminar and bring your whole family! The doors open at noon where there will be interactive booths set up to educate you on these issues and on ways you can get involved.
There will be areas for charitable contributions such as sponsoring a child, buying products made by underprivileged women, or learning more about the various non-profit organizations in our city. There will also be people there that can help you through the process of what you can do right here and now with your time: mentoring a child, helping a teenage mother with her struggles, befriending a refugee family as they learn to navigate their way through our city. Time is often more difficult to part with than money, but can be exponentially more influential in someone’s life.
To share from my personal experience, our family has been involved with an orphanage an India and with a refugee family from Ethiopia. I know with each conversation or encounter we had, I was a bit nervous and hesitant at first. People that are different from you (that look different, talk different, and have different backgrounds, mannerisms, cultures, and pasts) can be frightening, but the more you interact with them the more common ground you find. Oddly enough the more I thought I was supposed to be helping them, I realized they were helping me.
I hope you will consider attending and learning more about these wonderful agencies in our city and the goals they have to help make our community and our world a better place! See you there!