About Marilyn Gardner Milton
Marilyn Gardner Milton MA is a woman who has her fingers in many different pies in life. One of her greatest passions is the volunteering and advocating for both children in need as well as dogs. She helped to create the Ebenezer Foundation which works with children in need in Zambia. With the motto “A Place to Call Home and Someone to Call Mother”, the Ebenezer Foundation is dedicated to providing education, healthcare, and housing for orphans in Zambia. This position allows Marilyn to bring her years of experience in primary education and distance learning to the organization, providing them with advice and support as to how best educate the children.
Marilyn Garner Milton | Volunteering & Administrative Experience
The Ebenezer Foundation was created to support the work of the Ebenezer Child Care Trust, an organization that originally focused on feeding the orphans in Zambian cities a few times a week. However, as time passed the creators realized that there was more they could do to help the children in need. They partnered with the Cavalry Church in Livingstone and began renting houses so that they could offer a stable environment and family-like situation for the orphans. The Foundation currently rents 4 houses and 1 office building where they provide housing and house parents for the orphans as well as education and medical facilities for both orphans and all children in the community. Marilyn Gardner Milton MA was hired to join the Board of Directors so that she could bring her expertise in education and distance learning to the organization.
While Marilyn Gardner Milton MA has focused most of her volunteering efforts on children in need, she has also always been an advocate for dogs. Throughout her entire life, Marilyn has lived with dogs. As a child she was raised in a household that always had at least one dog in it and she tried to maintain that number throughout all periods in her life. And throughout all of her experiences with educating and administrating, her dogs were always there with her. The more she worked in high-intensity situations, the more Marilyn realized that her dog was useful for both companionship as well as a natural stress reliever. While Marilyn’s life is taken up mostly by her work and her family, she has never forgotten about her love for dogs and continues to live with one to this very day. Due to her experiences, she is fully aware of the therapeutic effects that dogs can have on people in stressful and taxing situations.
After coming across a list of the greatest graduation speeches of all time the other month, I felt inspired and reflective. So far, I’ve written about Joyce DiDonato’s four truths and Ellen DeGeneres‘s inspiring story of success. This month, I’m writing about Princeton University’s 2010 commencement speech by Jeff Bezos.
When Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon.com, was young, he spent his summers with his grandparents. Every few years, they would travel around the United States and Canada with their caravan club.
Bezos loved and worshiped his grandparents. He vividly remembers on of their trips; his grandfather was driving, his grandmother was in the passenger seat smoking cigarettes, and he was in the back with nothing to do but make estimates and do minor arithmetic, figuring out useless statistics.
One of the days, he told his grandmother that at two minutes per puff of her cigarettes, she had taken nine years off her life. He expected to be applauded for his cleverness and advanced arithmetic skills, but instead, his grandmother burst into tears. His grandfather pulled over the caravan and taught him a valuable life lesson that is much harder to be kind than clever.
What he talks to the class of 2010 about is that there is a difference between gifts and choices. Being clever is a gift but being kind is a choice. Gifts are easy, but choices are hard. The graduates in front of him possessed many gifts. The gift of being smart is something they all possess. How you use these gifts is what will define you.
At 30 years of age, and newly wed, he told his wife, McKenzie, that he was going to quit his job to begin a start-up that had no promise of working out. Ever since he was a kid, he wanted to be an inventor; McKenzie wanted him to follow his passion. He knew he had to give it a shot because he would never regret trying and failing but would be haunted if he decided to never try at all.
There are many questions Bezos asks, and they are incredibly reflective.
“How will you use your gifts?”
“What choices will you make?”
“Will inertia be your guide or will you follow your passions?”
“Will you follow Dogma or will you be original?”
“Will you choose a life of ease or a life of service an adventure?”
“Will you wilt under criticism or will you follow your convictions?”
“Will you bluff it out when you’re wrong or will you apologize?”
“Will you guard your heart against rejection or will you act when you fall in love?”
“Will you play it safe or will you be a little bit swashbuckling?”
“When it’s tough, will you give up or will you be relentless?”
“Will you be a cynic or will you be a builder?”
“Will you be clever at the expense of others or will you be kind?”
Bezo ends his speech by noting that when you’re 80-years-old and reflecting on your life, the most meaningful story will be what choices you have made and the impact that they had. Afterall, we are what our choices make us.
The magic of this time of year often leads us to feel a personal responsibility to help others in need. Whether you’re volunteering your time or donating your hard earned money, the feeling of helping others is a feeling like no other. If you’re looking for ways to volunteer this holiday season in the Boston area, consider these local charities.
Christmas in the City (CITC)
This non-profit organization has been bringing smiles to the children of Boston since 1989. For the thousands of kids and their families who are experiencing the stress of poverty and homelessness, the volunteers of Christmas in the City, along with Santa, throw an annual holiday party to bring the holiday magic back and give the kids the “best day of their lives.” If you can’t fit this volunteering opportunity into your busy holiday schedule, the CITC hold fundraising events throughout the year for the next holiday season.
Boston Children’s Hospital
The vision of the Boston Children’s Hospital is simple: “Dream, Dare, Deliver.” With over 275,000 patients each year, this hospital dreams of curing each child, dares to ask the hard questions that don’t have an easy answer, and delivers with new ways of healing. There are many ways to give to help make a world of difference.
The Greater Boston Food Bank
As a member of Feeding America, the Greater Boston Food Bank has fed over 142,000 people on a monthly basis across 190 cities and towns throughout Eastern Massachusetts. Sign up to volunteer as a group or an individual to help work in the warehouses to inspect, sort and package foods for the hungry.
Cradles to Crayons
Cradles to Crayons is another non-profit organization looking to help the 400,000 children in the state of Massachusetts who live in poverty. They sponsor local drop-offs where people can donate their lightly used clothing, shoes, toys, and books. If you’re looking to volunteer your time, you can make a difference at The Giving Factory, where volunteers inspect, sort, and package the donated goods.
The Ebenezer Foundation
As one of the board members, this organization holds a place near and dear to my heart. The Ebenezer Foundation is a not-for-profit U.S.-based organization that provides aid to the orphaned children living in the city of Livingstone in Zambia, Africa. The foundation operates an orphanage, a school, a farm, and a community food program. If you wish to donate to this cause, you can visit the website here.
I don’t know if you heard about this, I certainly didn’t, but today is International Museum Day! First established in 1977 (so today is its 40th anniversary!), it’s meant to raise awareness of the role that museums play in developing society throughout the world. Since 1997, it’s been given a new theme each year to highlight the various experiences that museums can offer. This year, the theme is “Museums and contested histories: Saying the unspeakable in museums”, meant to highlight the role they play in opening discussion.
In honor of International Museum Day, I thought it would be fun to discuss different great museums in the greater Boston area that you can visit, covering different areas of the human experience:Museum of Science: Spanning Boston’s Charles River, the Museum of Science featured over 700 interactive exhibits, live presentations, planetarium shows and even an indoor zoo! Here, hands-on activities encourage interaction and learning for all ages, and even if you flunked biology in 10th grade, it’s still a great experience that’s just as fun as it is educational. You could spend a whole day here, and still not see everything. Plimoth Plantation: While it wasn’t the first European settlement in the US, the symbolic value of Plymouth, where the Pilgrims landed in 1620, can’t be overstated. This living history museum demonstrates various aspects of the Plymouth story, featuring a recreation of what the settlement would have looked like in 1624, a replica of the Mayflower, a grist mill, a farm and a Wampanoag village. Certain staff members are able to answer any questions about this unique piece of American history, while others are trained to act, speak and dress exactly like our Pilgrim forefathers would have in 1624. Museum of Fine Arts: As the fourth-largest museum in the US, it goes without saying that there’s plenty to see at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, as its one million-plus annual visitors could tell you. There’s a whole lot to see here, so clear your schedule for the day and don’t forget to bring your walking shoes. The art collections here are unique and vary from ancient to Italian Renaissance to modern, so there’s guaranteed to be something for just about everybody. New England Holocaust Memorial: As one of the darkest events in recent history, it’s essential that we never overlook the Holocaust, so that we never repeat the same mistakes. Luckily, the New England Holocaust Memorial does an excellent job at remembering the six million innocent people who were killed during the Holocaust for no reason other than their birth. Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology: While the Peabody Museum of Natural History is in Connecticut (and it’s pretty great if you’re ever in New Haven!), the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology is conveniently located in nearby Cambridge. Since its founding over 150 years ago, it’s one of the largest and oldest anthropological museums in the world, focusing on the ethnography and archaeology of the Americas through thousands of artifacts and interesting, engaging exhibits. While it’s not as big as some other museums on this list, admission also gets you into the Harvard Museum of Natural History, but more on that in just a bit!Harvard Museum of Natural History: After paying for admission to the Peabody Museum, use that ticket to get into the Harvard Museum of Natural History. As a museum run by one of the most prestigious schools in the world, it certainly delivers. One of the more famous exhibits here are the “glass flowers”, a collection of beautiful and highly detailed botanical models made in 19th-century Germany. It’s a small space, but packed well and is brilliantly curated. Boston Children’s Museum: There are some great museums in this list, but they aren’t all suitable for all ages. If you’re looking for something geared towards younger children, then the Boston Children’s Museum has got you covered. It’s geared towards younger children (even those under a year old!), and does a great job at keeping the area clean, giving plenty for kids to play with and making sure that everybody is safe while having a great time.