By Michelle Wilson, Development Director with The Children’s Advocacy Center of Jackson County

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“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”~ Dumbledore (from the Harry Potter books)

Last fall at this time we launched our first online campaign to raise funds for our services for kids and teens healing from abuse.

We named it “You Matter!” because we truly know that everyone can offer something important to this cause.

Every day we witness people who give their time, ideas, energy, financial resources, and compassionate care to the big work of healing child abuse in our community.

This is no small task.

It can feel enormous and overwhelming, to those of us who can barely stand the thought of children being abused, to those of us who work every day with children who have the scars – visible and invisible – of abuse. The task can feel so enormous that we might want to step back, not look at what we see or listen to what we are hearing or reading about. We might want to walk away, even if we feel a little guilty about doing that.

I believe the reason for feeling the urge to turn away from the abuse and neglect that we know is happening to children in our community is that we feel powerless.

How can we stop this?

How can we do anything that will make a difference?

How can anything we do really matter against such a seemingly endless stream of children suffering?

At times like this, the former English teacher in me turns to literature and the wisdom in the pages of great stories.

Right now my son is smack in the middle of reading the Harry Potter series, often unable to take his eyes off of the pages when he is at a particularly gripping moment in the story.

I am grateful for this on many levels, and one of them is that he is learning about the big battles of good and evil and the choices that people (or wizards) can make in the face of them. And I hope that he is listening to Dumbledore, the wise headmaster of Hogwarts School of Magic, and the mentor and teacher to Harry himself.

Today I turned to Dumbledore’s wisdom myself:

It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.

I believe this completely. To sum it up, our choices are what matter.

We can choose in every moment whether we are contributing something positive to the world around us or not. We can choose in each moment whether or not we will be part of the daily work of creating a compassionate, caring, nurturing world for the children in our lives and our communities – or not.

Our choices in each moment matter. And as Dumbledore seems to say, each one of us matters, no matter what abilities we are given at birth or through circumstances.

Dumbledore is a wise teacher in the way that all great teachers are: he asks Harry to turn inside, to himself, and make the best choices for whatever he faces. He reminds Harry – and those of us following along – that each one of us is responsible for making the choices in our lives that move us toward answering the problems, large and small, we all face.

It’s as simple and as challenging as that.

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Watch our short You Matter! Video

Visit Campaign Headquarters for You Matter!

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