Hello. My name is Gail Perry Johnston. I’m an author, art director and speaker … and a wife and mother of two.
I started sponsoring children when I was 14. Now close to 50, that’s a lot of years of making a difference in kids’ lives with relatively little effort, thanks to Compassion and a few other well-run organizations.
Why aren’t all people of adequate means sponsoring children?
Fear of the unknown? Fear of commitment? Ignorance of the fact that they can, in fact, spare the change?
Maybe it’s simply that they still haven’t heard of it yet.
My main career is graphic design, but I’ve also become a bit of a writer. My faith has largely been developed through the simple pleasure of curling up with a good book — thank you C.S. Lewis, Paul Little, Jim Burns — and I would like to give back in the way that I have been impacted, or at least try.
With the subject matters I tackle, I hope to ignite interest in the most important things in life (which are not “things” at all, of course).
Two years ago, I compiled a collection of stories about service. It’s called The Social Cause Diet: Find A Service That Feeds The Soul.
Three of the 45 stories are from avid Compassion fans and spokespeople:
I am so grateful for their contributions (and their awesomeness), and anticipate increased awareness of child sponsorship through them.
Presently, I’m working on Volume Two of The Social Cause Diet. If you are reading this blog, it’s likely that you have a story to share! Please consider writing it down and submitting it through www.socialcausediet.com.
As with the first volume, my goal is to communicate that “it is more blessed to give than to receive” while showcasing a wide variety of services. The more stories, the better, and the greater chance readers will find ways in which they would like to serve.
I should mention why the word “diet” is in the title of my book. (Let’s pretend I wasn’t influenced by the fact that diet books tend to sell very well.)
First of all, when we help others, we nourish our souls, so this book suggests a diet for the soul.
I consider the soul to be our real self; the part that can get better and better (with proper feeding), even as its housing wears thin.
Secondly, there is a significant amount of evidence that indicates that people who volunteer regularly tend to be healthier than those who do not volunteer. The studies are amazing.
A steady diet of helping others seems to be as important to our physical well-being as proper nutrition and regular exercise.
Lastly, my personal testimony includes an ugly history of dieting in the usual way — or maybe I should say, dysfunctional way.
I was a compulsive dieter who eventually became bulimic without even knowing the term.
The turning point in my life came when my college roommate got in my face and said, “Gail, the world is bigger than your pack of crackers.”
It was at that moment that I realized how self-absorbed I had become with my dieting, and I didn’t want to stay that way.
While I was not immediately cured of my disorder, the all-important will to get better was there, and my journey to health began.
What I really believe is that our country’s fascination with dieting is all wrong. The more we diet, the more problems we seem to have with obesity and eating disorders.
Maybe it’s because the typical diet makes the dieter the focal point, endorsing the ideology that “it’s all about me.” But true well-being — philosophers, theologians, sociologists, and even politicians all agree — is achieved when we feel connected to something beyond ourselves.
So that’s why I propose going on the Social Cause Diet; that is, developing a lifestyle that incorporates serving others in some way. It may not be easy, but the benefits are well worth it.
And unlike the usual diet that leaves you hungry, this one will fill you up.
Submit your story at www.socialcausediet.com.