Have you ever heard the Starfish Story?
A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement.
She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!”
The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied, “Well, I made a difference to that one!”
The old man looked at the girl inquisitively and thought about what she had done and said. Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved.
— Adapted from The Star Thrower
by Loren C. Eiseley
One day in September, All-American Jane reached out to her tribe to express the pain and sadness of her day. She was working with a student, a young woman, and had noticed that this student — let’s call her Rosebud — had been wearing the same clothes for many days in a row. Unsurprisingly, she was also having difficulty with her hygiene. Jane remembered her own high school experience of having the brains to go to the “good” school, but not the money to fit in.
Without even being asked, Jane’s tribe of women immediately jumped in, wanting to help in some practical way. Many of them shared their own stories of growing up without enough to eat, without access to running water and the basics so many of us take for granted. High School is hard enough, particularly on girls. Luckily, Jane accepted the needs of her tribe to contribute to making Rosebud’s life better and set about finding a way to make it happen, while still preserving her student’s privacy and dignity.
Within an hour of Jane posting her action plan, she had passed her fundraising goal of $600 and women were still clamoring to contribute. And do you know why? Because it makes us feel good when we can help someone! It’s good for the heart, it’s good for the soul, and it’s good for the person who gets the help that they need. And, it can sometimes help heal a part of our past.
Rosebud became our first Starfish. With the money raised and a discount shared by a generous tribe member, Jane was able to help Rosebud shop for new clothes. Rosebud was “sitting in [Jane’s] office online picking out new clothes from Lane Bryant…she can NOT stop smiling and saying “REALLY”?”
All-American Jane is a valued member of our family at She the People, and we agreed that the Starfish Club should be formed to continue to help girls and women who might be overlooked, who might need a tribe to help them access the basic necessities of life, as well as the little extras to give them a hand up.
Rosebud was our first Starfish, but she won’t be our last. Stay tuned, and maybe you can help the next flower in our garden!