Karma for Cara Microgrants help fund exceptional projects led by youth 18 and under to help complete service projects in their communities. Read about our micro grant recipient Suzan, a 15 year old who volunteers with All Together.
1. How did you become involved with All Together?
I was actually lucky enough to watch the organization first start off and then grow into what it is now. Soobean Jo and Jane Yoon are both the founders of All Together and my role models; I had no idea how close we would end up or how much I would learn from them. When they asked me to help them out with the creation of All Together, I said yes, and as the secretary of the organization, I helped start the Bergen County Academies chapter of All Together, volunteered as a taekwondo instructor at the Saturday morning classes, and became a believer of support systems for young children.
2. Why is your work important to you?
I think I never fully realized how important All Together was to me, until one of the kids participating in the Saturday morning did a roundhouse kick. On the surface it was trivial, as all the other kids had mastered the kick weeks ago, but Julian* had been too impatient to really watch, listen and learn the basic movement to get it right – every time he made an error, I could see the frustration building up and threatening to take him over. But that day, the agitation that came with making a mistake was missing, and the energy normally being channeled into his antics were being pushed through into practice. When he got it for the first time—knee bent correctly—the look on his face changed my life. My work is important to me because of that. I believe all individuals deserve to be able to strive toward goals and believe in themselves and trust others. I also believe this world’s fate is in the hand of youth, and that children who can focus, persevere, and collaborate will do great things.
3. How did the money from the microgrant help with your project?
Karma for Cara’s Microgrant opens a door that spreads our message beyond All Together’s current borders – cooking classes. While the organization’s taekwondo classes allow the kids to really let out their energy and have fun while learning balance, coordination, and respect, there are a very large number of students in the class. As the Microgrant makes the cooking classes a possibility, it has offered many of the children the ability to partake in another activity that they specifically love.
4. What message of giving back do you have for others?
Most people take for granted not just food, clothes, and education, but also the capacity to deal with stress, and ability to love themselves and the people around them. Remembering that some are not so lucky and that we have the capabilities to help those in need is important. Regardless of the existence of a legal obligation, a moral obligation to give back to the community exists.