Letting Your Passion Fuel You to Work, to Dream, and to Volunteer (by Guest Blogger Tyler Kennedy)

Tyler Kennedy is a forward thinking, passionate community activist in the Summer 2012 Enhancing Youth Literacy class going and inspired a project to get PSU students even more involved in educating the public on issues that impact Portland Public Schools.  Here is his action plan.

I feel very passionate about many things. Sustainability, education, poverty, energy, and more. I feel that we have the means to change the world if we only get organized. One way to help with both sustainability and poverty, as well as helping on a local level is to volunteer at the local food bank. I’ve done this already once before and I would like to do it again.

Additionally, I am very interested in the “sports buddies” program. I’m an avid Blazers and Timbers fan and would love to be able to help a child by playing or watching sports with them. I almost asked to exchange numbers with an UB student just to go play basketball with him, but didn’t, because I wasn’t sure how appropriate that would be. I would like to look into the sports buddies program a little more before I commit, however.

Also, I’d love to continue working with upward bound in the fall. I really enjoyed working with the kids on their math and I’d love to continue helping out in this way. I feel like if I can make even a small difference in any of their lives then it’s worth it, and as we’ve seen from the readings and information this term that one-on-one relationships can be great ways to achieve that.





Action Plan:

I am going to give myself 3 months (I hope to only need 1, but life is unexpected) to find a new job. After I’ve found a new job I can begin working on my dream of designing card and board games. But while I’m chasing my dream, I’d like to keep volunteering.

Before the 3 months are up, I must continue to talk about issues of education and sustainability with my peers, coworkers, friends, and family. I need to direct people to the information that I’ve found and make sure that I encourage them to share it with others. Being informed is the best way to bring about change on a local or even national level.

Also while I’m looking for a new job I intend to become and stay more informed. I need to continue to grow my knowledge base when it comes to education and sustainability. I need to broaden my horizons when it comes to looking for and dispersing this information. In particular, I need to pay closer attention to local and state legislation and politics.

After my 3 months are up (or once I find a new job, whichever comes first) I will start volunteering regularly. I hope to fit in some spot moments prior to this deadline, however at the very least I must be regularly volunteering once I’ve gotten a new job. The top candidates for me in terms of volunteering are the Oregon Food Bank, Sports Buddies and Upward Bound. I feel that all three are examples of ways that I am able to connect with the community; simply doing what little bit I can to directly make someone’s life better that needs help.

I believe that these are achievable goals and that I can likely do even more once I get into a rhythm or a habit with these first steps. I’m a firm believer in the activist side of things though, and I would love to continue working to spread information and promote volunteering and activism in others.




The major barriers that I see to actually excetuing something like this is to fall into a weekly pattern that doesn’t fit volunteer or activism in. Finding a new job could take longer than anticipated. I am trying to chase my dream of producing games for a living and while I realize that this will take a large portion of my time I’ve accounted for that in my plan and have not proposed too lofty of goals for myself, however it would be easy to get caught up in my passion and not give or find time for these causes.

The solutions I feel are simple, however. My passion is what is fueling my drive to find a new job, to chase my dream, and yes, to volunteer. I know that I will do something in relation to sustainability or education awareness, and my real concern lies more with not doing enough. I believe though that I am more than capable of keeping myself on track and that once I start it will be easier and become more and more habitual. I wouldn’t mind you checking up on my progress however, especially given that I know myself and I tend to work better in all scenarios when I’m under a little bit of pressure.


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