When we were brand new, we felt pretty overwhelmed by “nonprofit world”. SO MANY THINGS TO DO, so many people to connect with, so many options – it was just really overwhelming, in a good way, but still a challenge on top of all of the other life and work things I had to do simultaneously.
Jordie DiFernando of Compassion Cards reached out to me so warmly and introduced her nonprofit to me and I felt instantly welcome in this world. What she does and who she is speaks volumes and undoubtedly changes lives. You may have seen her on the local news in Hampton Roads or read about her Facebook already, but if you haven’t let us introduce you to her and her organization in this blog interview today!
Organization Name: Compassion Cards
Where is your company located? We call Norfolk, VA, home, but we work with people all over Hampton Roads, the East Coast, and the U.S. at large!
How long has your nonprofit been around? Since February 2014 – we are celebrating five years in 2019!!
What is the mission of your company/nonprofit? We’re a diverse group of people who exist to embrace and empower humanity through the art of written words. We believe that people matter, and that they need to know. We want people to know that it’s gonna be okay, that they are loved, and also that it’s okay to not be okay. We do this by sending thousands of handwritten cards to people in all walks of life.
Who do you serve/who can you help? We serve lots of different people! Our cards go/have gone to school students, teachers, orphans, widows, the homeless community, human-trafficking victims, youth mentor programs, the LGBTQ+ community, first responders, immigrant and refugee children, and program staff and volunteers at various organizations. We partner with several different organizations to ensure that as many as possible can receive a kind word!
Anyone can help! We want our tables to be full of the diversity that makes up humanity, and we invite anyone to be a part of what we do! Volunteering with Compassion Cards can look like many different things! We can set up shop anywhere, and love to go where we’re needed. Throughout the year, we take on lots of different bookings! We do hands-on workshops with schools, churches, workplaces, social clubs, etc., school programming, house parties, and more! We also host community events, which are open to the public!
We’re booking fast! Summer is pretty much filled up, and we’re booking October 2019-February 2020 now! All public event info can be found on our website/Facebook!
What is your favorite story/experience from running your company/nonprofit you’d like to share? Picking one favorite is HARD! Over the last five years, there have been many moments that have taken my breath away! It isn’t hard to get me crying, and I spend a lot of time in happy tears, truly humbled by all that we’re able to do through Compassion Cards. I think one of my favorite experiences has been seeing the community we’ve formed out of Compassion Cards. Our organization has been run by people with different stories, like diseased/dying parents, sexual identity, spiritual crises, college drop-outs, care-giving, depression, thoughts of suicide, anxiety, body-image, and so much more. In each of our respective struggles, we’ve so often felt alone, but Compassion Cards changed that. In a space where many of us have felt isolation and loneliness in our different journeys, we’ve found a family. Compassion Cards united me with so many beautiful people; all of us just looking for a place to call home.
What is the biggest challenge you face or the hardest part about what you do? One of the biggest challenges for me has been creating boundaries for myself. I am a dreamer and a visionary, and I want to say yes to EVERYTHING Compassion Cards, but sometimes that’s not good for me, or for my team. I’ve worked with intention this year to make sure I’m not taking on too much for myself, and also that I’m not taking away from what my team gets to do. Delegating hasn’t always been my greatest strength, but I’ve worked very hard to do this in the best way for everyone involved in our work!
What do you want people to know? So much of work is just letting people know they matter. We want people to know that we need them to stay, and to share their stories with the world. If you’re reading this, and you’re feeling like what you bring to the table doesn’t matter, I want you to know that’s a big lie! Your life is important. Who you are matters. You belong. We want people to find the space they need to process whatever they’re walking through, knowing that we’re here to cheer them on! Compassion Cards feels like home, and you’re welcome to come inside.
WAYS TO CONNECT WITH COMPASSION CARDS:
If you have any questions, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!