Everyone knows you have to water plants to keep them alive. But if you look a little further, watering also helps strengthen the roots – allowing them to dig deeper, become more stable, and better use their surroundings to grow.
The same applies to people.
When you water your cultural and environmental roots, you help people dig deeper, help them stabilize their own lives, and help individuals better understand how to use their surroundings. This is why it’s important to water your roots. This is also a key aspect of how and why I developed the Empowering B.A.C.K. Foundation.
Watering my roots
When the world stopped in 2020, it wasn’t hard to find a person or a cause to support because EVERYONE needed help in some way. Hospitals needed masks, kids needed school, adults needed paychecks, and people needed community. While I couldn’t be there in person, I knew I could offer help in other ways to the communities that had impacted me earlier in life.
“With family and community being important to me, my mind went straight to my hometown of Burlington, Oklahoma. I wanted to help; I wanted to be there for the community that helped mold me into who I am today.”– BG, Action Plan to Realizing YOUR Aspirations
I formed a nonprofit organization to give back to three cities in OK (Burlington, Alva, Cherokee) and one town in Kansas (Kiowa). These communities shaped me during my youth and my first priority was ensuring these communities were stable and supported, and that their youth would receive similar support.
Seeing the growth
Due to some specific needs during the initial COVID-19 outbreak, the Empowering B.A.C.K. provided masks to hospitals and churches in these areas, but our main focus was giving back to the students. We established a scholarship fund for graduating high school seniors to apply for, and they could use this for any future development – whether it was university, trade school, or anything that would help them reach their goals.
Since March 2020, we have granted over $17,000 worth of scholarships to students from Burlignton, Alva, Cherokee and Kiowa high schools. Check out more in this Amazing Oklahoman feature from News on 6.
Why it matters
Can you remember a moment in middle school or high school when you had someone else impact your life? Do you remember what it was like to receive that support? What path did it set you on?
Would you be where you are today without that moment? How different would your trajectory have been if someone hadn’t given back to you then?
I’ve noticed something pretty wild over the years: Most people find it difficult to give, but hardly anyone forgets someone who gave to them. And knowing this, I realized one way to leave a legacy is to give back. If I want my legacy to be one of kindness, faithfulness, and generosity, I must show kindness, faithfulness, and generosity to the people who did the same for me.
This concept of watering your roots isn’t really about appreciation as much as it’s about adding to the world around us. After all, the best way to show appreciation is to go out and make positive change with the opportunities you were given. I challenge anyone reading this to do just that. Go make positive changes in the community that changed your life. Go water your roots.