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I recently read an article in the New York Times about an interview with Judd Apatow. It was an interview discussing his response over some Trump tweets. The article itself was not about the special needs community at all, but something he said in this article really resonated with me:

“There’s a danger on the internet that you think you’re accomplishing something,” he says. “So you see an article about a disease and retweet it and think ‘It’s cured now!’ And you’ve fooled yourself into thinking that you’ve done something productive.”

It seems like every other day I see one of my friends or family members share a post on Facebook that says something to the effect of “Every like gets $1 to charity X,” or it is a picture of a child with special needs and a story of them being bullied or shunned, and the post will be begging for likes to show this person they are beautiful. Many of the people in the photos have never given their permission for them to be used, and the posts claiming to raise money rarely, if ever, actually do so. Yet, time after time, the posts are shared, and people may go on to think they just helped make a difference.

There has to be a way as a society that we can fix this. Instead of making negative or false things go viral, let’s all volunteer our time for a cause we believe in. Or if you don’t have time to donate, donate money, or promote an organization that is doing something good. Let’s quit wasting our time and effort on things that yield no response, and instead let’s work together to do real good.

Of course, I would love to tell the world to support my charity and my cause, but really, pick what matters to you. Everyone has something they care about. Maybe you care about children with special needs, maybe you are passionate about animals, or maybe veterans, or maybe you have a very specific interest, like women battling a certain type of cancer. Whatever matters to you, do something about it! Find an organization that shares your passion and see what types of volunteer roles they need filled. Some organizations have volunteer roles you can do from home. Or send them a donation to put toward the cause. If you don’t have time or money, no problem. You can still help. Tell all of your friends and family about the organization and the work they are doing. Your enthusiasm for a cause may be contagious. You can help that organization by getting them more awareness.

The article continues, and towards the end Apatow goes on to say:

“I’m trying to transition from making comments on social media to choosing one or two organizations to work with and support so that I feel like I’m actually being a positive part of the process. You don’t want to be a crank.”

There are thousands of nonprofits out there. Chances are you can find one you can get passionate about. Caring about something bigger than yourself and working towards improving the situation instead of just “liking” a post or complaining about the problem can be so much more productive. Start today. Google your cause and see what’s out there. You may be surprised how easy it is once you get started. Let’s follow Judd’s lead and all try to be part of positive change. Well said, Apatow!

Image via Thinkstock.

Follow this journey on Casey Barnes.

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Originally published: January 25, 2017
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