What is Service?

Yesterday was the day that America honors the life and sacrifices made by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., one of the world’s most impactful leaders. As opposed to being a day off, it is supposed to be a day of service. But that leads me to ask a question of us all: What are we doing to help humanity on a regular basis? Could you imagine what your relationship would be like if you only celebrated your significant other once or twice a year? How would you feel if your parents had only acknowledged you quarterly? They would just be meaningless displays from people looking to check off a box.

Just as people need to be loved every day, we should be doing something good for someone else on a daily basis. Maybe it’s letting the person at the stoplight know (s)he left the gas tank open. Maybe it’s stopping by your local co-op to grab a hot meal for the homeless person on the corner. Maybe it’s donating some money to keep Bennett College open. But we have to do something if we truly want to honor the legacy not only of Dr. King but the spirit of what America claims to be. And everyone shouldn’t know you did it. Just do it. If you are recognized for it, great. If you’re not, great. Either way, you did something beautiful for someone who can do nothing for you except pay it forward.

Oh, and, by the way, I found that cool graphic by following one of my favorite accounts on Instagram, The 9 to 5 Podcast. Check them out by clicking here.


Make embracing a spirit of service a priority.


#BelieveInTheG 2018

Hey everyone. While I usually use this platform to discuss issues affecting young professionals, today is all about helping young people become young professionals. My alma mater, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, kicked off its Believe in the G campaign today and will conclude it tomorrow at 11:59 PM. This is a great opportunity for Spartan alumni, family, and friends to show what the university means to them and their loved ones.

I had a great experience at UNCG and was on a partial scholarship while there. Now I am an established professional who adds immense value to organizations and comes with a wealth of potential. Much of this is because of the time I spent in Greensboro and I believe it’s only right to give back to an institution that taught me so much, both in and out of the classroom. That being said, I would love for everyone who sees this page to make a gift or pledge to UNCG today. There is a Daniels Dollar for Donor match on the table that Desirée  and I are sponsoring and, the more donors we get, the more we can give to help provide access to education and resources to more young people. The size of your donation isn’t as important as the act of giving it (but if you can give a large amount, by all means, please do!).

Visit BelieveInTheG.com today and make a gift. You can give to any fund you would like and the Daniels Dollar For Donor match counts but, if you don’t have any preference, please consider either giving to the Pi Zeta Scholarship Fund or the Deryle Daniels BBSA Scholarship Fund (you will have to select “Other” as your designation and then write either of those fund names in the comments).

Thanks in advance for helping a young person have a chance to better him/herself.

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Make investing in the future a priority.

The (Real) Reason You Have Opportunity

We're not here to make ourselves rich… Well, that's not all. I want money just like anyone else because it's required for my survival. But there's more to money than surviving; there's success. Success, to me, isn't just having items or experiences. It's having the opportunities that lead you to be able to help others.

The past two days, I haven't been posting to the Reader because I needed to really enjoy my vacation and I have been. Desirée and I went snorkeling and hung out on the beach and went cave tubing. We explored the streets of Belize City, took a ferry out to the islands right off the coast of the country, and rode through the rural areas to see how people lived outside the urban centers. From all this, I took two major things: Belize is beautiful but Belize lacks opportunity.

Desirée and I had one driver from the time we got to the hotel until the time we arrived back at the airport. Mr. Luis Martin put us on to the great local spots to eat, hooked us up with a tour guide for our cave tubing, and was always on time to pick us up from wherever we were. He was so trill that, when I ended up having to stop at an ATM at night to get some more cash out, he stepped out of the car with me, stood guard behind me, and he had something on him to protect himself and me as well.

In America, Luis would've been a philanthropist. In Belize, he is a great philanthropist. He and his wife (whom Desirée and I had the pleasure of meeting) at one point had a community center for the kids of their neighborhood so that they wouldn't get caught up in the drug trafficking that is common here. He said he likes driving taxis because it allows him to know what’s going on around the city and then to use that information to help people who need opportunities.

When we said we wanted to go cave tubing, Luis contacted Alfredo, a freelance tour guide who not only knows the cave systems, he knows the geology that made them as awesome as they are. When it comes to earth science, no offense to any of my former teachers, I would put him up against anyone who studied geology at an undergraduate level and I bet he could teach them some things. But here, Alfredo takes tours from time to time, works odd jobs at odd hours, and enjoys a simpler life. Part of me envies his freedom. Another part of me wants more for him. Since I couldn’t give him more, in that sense, we tipped him pretty well. That gave him a smile. I hope it’s used as a down payment on a “one day” dream he told us about but I may never know.

This is why those of us in more developed nations have the opportunities we do. Certainly, it's to set ourselves and our children up for awesome lives. But it's also to be able to feed into the lives of others. We have to create opportunities for those in our communities, states, nation, and world. I shouldn't be better off simply because I was born to certain parents in a certain state in a certain country. And, if I am better off because of that alone, then I have a responsibility to help make my fellow (wo)man better. The problem is, we're so afraid of competition that we don't think of the possibility for collaboration. By helping the best minds of all nations succeed, we're helping humanity as a whole. Or are we so egotistical that we want America to be the greatest nation ever? Let's change our way of thinking. Let's acknowledge that, the real reason for privilege and opportunity is so that others can be helped. You have a responsibility to be the best you that you can be not for yourself but for the world that you are here to help.

Make philanthropy a priority.

Giving Back in the Right Places

At 6:15 AM yesterday, I walked out of my home an hour and a half before I usually do. Why? Because I had agreed to volunteer on the Bull City Breakfast for Scouting’s committee. Why? Two reasons. First, there are children who need assistance paying for programs like this and I believe that the dollars raised at the breakfast play a pivotal role in that. Secondly, experience on a résumé is not just professional experience. Outside of my 8-5, I volunteer in numerous capacities, from working with young people at my elementary school to doing marketing for my church to sitting on finance and fundraising committees for local organizations.

Gifts, both of time and treasure, are of the utmost importance to me. I don’t care what anyone says about the selflessness that goes into giving money and time away, it is one of the most selfish things I can do and do you know why? Not because of the connections I make or the token gifts that I receive for volunteering. I give back because the feeling that I get when I know what I’ve helped someone is one of the greatest feelings in the world.

We all have the capacity to give something. If you don’t have money, you have time. If you don’t have money or time, you have kindness.


Make giving back a priority.

Moment of Clarity

I just read this great article from an online magazine I read regularly called PRSUIT about doing nothing and being ok with it. In this age of hustle and bustle, we are always so focused on do do do that we never sit down to just be in the moment and experience it. At the beginning of the article, Konrad Stoick told readers to take 5 minutes to do nothing but focus on the breathing in and out. And, though I tried, I inevitably began thinking about everything else that was going on in life and had to continually refocus my mind on doing nothing. Finally, I settled on one thought (the closest number to thinking about 0 things is thinking about 1 thing). So I repeated over and over again in my head “I’m blessed.” And I am. I had a meeting recently with someone and I remember hearing the most braggadocious statement come from that person’s mouth and I thought, “I hope I never sound like that.” And then I thought to my recent trip to Asia and how it appears to someone who may have never left North Carolina. I can say all day that I got the tickets for a fraction of the cost that they should have been but that fraction is more than many have. So, as a result of this moment of clarity, constantly reiterating to myself that I’m blessed, I realized that my blessings can be seen as braggadocious to someone else. So I want to take a chance to put into perspective why I am blessed.

8 years ago, I was forced to change majors and, at that moment, my life’s plans (which God was laughing at years before) were forever changed. That same year, my family went through the most troubling financial times that I had ever seen (and I had seen some tough ones before) that resulted in both a lack of certainty and an increased need of support on my part.
5 years ago, I graduated college with a degree that America, collectively, doesn’t believe adds a ton of value to society (I beg to differ but that argument isn’t worth having), no job, and tens of thousands of dollars of debt. I was unable to pay rent but worked it out with my apartment complex that I would when I found a job. Not 6 months after graduating, I lost my father. Then I found a job that I hated in a call center. If I had stuck with it, I would probably be a manager there (far from my purpose but it would have been a decent check). Thing is, I didn’t stick with it and ended up working outside at a produce stand that I walked 3 miles each way to.
2 years ago, I left a city that I loved (and job that wasn’t the worst) for the woman that I love after she lost her mother. I left Charlotte with no job, no job prospects, no car, and only my younger sister’s living room to call home. I had a little saved but not enough. I ended up securing a retail job to make ends meet but I was further from happy than east from west.
18 months ago, I walked into a role that would define this era of my professional career. I was overworked and underpaid but it was good experience. I knew that my role was more valuable and that I would have to fight for the dollars that I deserved, were I to stay at that institution. I was engaged and we were moving into a place of our own just before the wedding. We shared a car. Things could have been a little better but they could have been a lot worse (a phrase that I’ve begun responding with whenever asked “How are things going?”) I had just gotten my passport.
3 months ago, I began a job in the field of education. Though no job will ever be perfect, I really enjoy the fact that they’re investing in both me right now and in my future growth. By now, I have been married for just shy of 14 months. In those months, I have spent nights in six nations outside of the United States. I have had both a niece and a nephew now, both who make me smile to no avail. I have taken on a role at my church that allows me to serve more. I have developed better financial habits that will provide my children with opportunities to develop in ways that I was not able to (no disrespect at all to my upbringing because I was very fortunate that my parents sacrificed for my siblings and I to have the education that we received). I am reading more and writing more. I am able to give back, both in time and money, to institutions that invested in me at a time when  there was as much of a risk of as a return on investment.

So, when I read Konrad’s article and then continuously told myself I am blessed, I truly realize that I am. I don’t have to be where I am. I could be jobless. I could be unable to pay rent. I could be still sleeping on a pallet on my sister’s floor. I could be in jail. I could be dead. Or worse, I could be dead and in hell. I could be so much worse off right now. Or I could be a little better. I don’t ever intend to brag but to show that things can and will get better if you put faith and work together. It’s all about perspective.


Make happiness a priority.

Why I Do What I Do

Thanks to technological advances and enhanced forms of communication, as society grows more conscious of conditions across world, we are becoming increasingly aware of both the impressive successes of and enormous challenges facing humankind. Whereas we are doing much more for those across the world than ever before, we still have a long way to go. No one who wants to eat should be without food. No one who wants shelter should be without a home. No one who wants to learn should be illiterate. Yet there are the hungry, the homeless, and the illiterate, both domestically and overseas. I believe that the answers to these problems does not lie only in the economic or public policy sectors but also in the education of the next generation.

I am in the field of development because it restores my faith in humanity. Every family at the parents at the private PK-8 school I work at already pays tuition and yet, in recent years, between 80% and 90% of those families choose to give back annually. Do you know what that does? It offsets the cost of education for some families, improves technological resources, and adds to the professional development of the faculty and staff here so that their students and others can go on to solve problems such as hunger, poverty, homelessness, and other pressing issues. I believe that one of these students will play a role in ending world hunger or improving access to information across the world. True, they may not. But what if they do? And what if it’s a student who is on indexed tuition? And what if my dollars helped close the gap so that (s)he could be here? That is why I fundraise and that is why I give back to this school, my alma mater, and my church. Because I believe not only in what they do but also the communities and constituents that they serve.

Today is #GivingTuesday across the world. Put the hashtag into your search bar on Twitter or Instagram and you will see the conversation about how important it is to give back in the world’s 3 most important currencies: time, money, and love. Which will you donate today?

And, if you don’t know who to give to {or if you just want to make an additional gift}, I beseech you to consider make a small contribution to Duke School by clicking here.

Make giving back a priority.


*If you happen to click this link after Nov. 29, don’t worry, your donation is still just as important and just as acceptable.


Don’t Just Give More. Do Better.

I’m in the field of fundraising and I realize that everyone cannot always give more. It’s just not fiesable. Know why? Because some years are better than others and, in a good year, knowing that my organization is a priority is amazing. But, when someone gives in a bad year, it’s out of sacrifice. That is where true affinity lies; in the bad years. So, though I’m definitely appreciative of those who consistently give at high levels every year, I’m even more appreciative of those who give consistently, rain or shine. That speaks volumes to the impact that the organization either has had on their lives or the impact that the donor believes the organization can have on the future.

Internalize your profession. Feel it. It’ll make you a better _________(fill in the blank with your title).
Make professional development a priority.