Blog: Rebecca Lopez Kriss

Rebecca Lopez Kriss speaks her mind. A self-described "concerned citizen and community advocate at all levels," she is also a co-founder of the YP Underground, a local networking group for young professionals. Rebecca will be weighing in on redevelopment, downtown parking and how young people need to become more involved in building the community they want.

Rebecca Lopez Kriss - Post 3: Do something

For giggles, I have been taking classes at Washtenaw Community College lately, and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to know what the kids are doing. I take the Number 3 bus, which is also a great route because it passes Huron High School, and then you really get an inside scoop. It is pretty cool to see high school kids sporting Obama gear, when they are probably not even old enough to vote. (Like many, I am still riding a wave of post-election optimism. Don’t spoil it!)

Anyway, here’s the point: everybody and their brother is reporting the nearly record breaking voter turnout for 18-29 year olds. Which is great, and I am thrilled. Now let’s get back to the business of fighting the good fight here in Washtenaw County.

If Millenials and Cuspers managed to find their way to a polling place, it sure would be nice if they found their way to the United Way, 826Michigan, Washtenaw Literacy, Growing Hope, Neutral Zone, or any of the other 1,100 non-profits in Washtenaw County that desperately need people and resources.

It took a monumental effort to get hundreds of thousands of young people registered for the 2008 election. (From first hand experience, the "get registered" volunteers were FIERCE at WCC.) It took many multi-million dollar marketing campaigns by organizations like Rock the Vote and Declare Yourself to convince people, "oh yeah, you should stop texting your friends long enough to go do something for yourself and your future.

The civic organizations of our community do not have millions of dollars to convince people that they have a stake in making our county a better place to live. If I have to listen to another person say to me, "They should do something about that," I might claw my eyes out.

So, I am urging the dear Concentrate readers out there to ask themselves, "Are you the marketer or marketed?"

I am challenging you to spend 15 minutes looking for a non-profit of your interest and think about lending a hand, or writing a check, or sharing your expertise. Just 15 minutes! Just think about it!

And another thing, going around picking up garbage for the day is cute, but lets get real, a 6-year old can do that. If you are a professional with some sort of expertise, your value is not in picking up trash. If you know how to make websites, or write press releases, or do bookkeeping, I strongly urge you to think about making a real and lasting contribution to the organization of your choice.

Besides the warm feeling you get in the cockles of your heart by knowing you are doing something helpful to others, the greatest thing about taking responsibility in making your community what it is, is that you get to complain about it later if it doesn’t work out.

See its simple: no volunteer, no vote, no complain.
Volunteer, vote, you get to complain.
And everyone knows, I like to complain.