Has Crisis Influenced Your Sense of Purpose?

Whether we are the victim of a disaster or a bystander, crises can affect us long after the event itself has passed. Many of Echoing Green’s Fellows, in fact, came to the work that now shapes their careers in response to disasters that made the world’s needs too obvious for them not to address them. Has a crisis—natural, personal, or otherwise—influenced your view of what the world needs and how you can help meet those needs?

Photo: Mira

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I would have to say that the Fiscal Crisis / Debt Ceiling Battle of August 2011 was a major call to action for me. It really showcased how fragile democracy is and how we all must be involved to keep it running. It illustrated: 

  1. How important it is for people to voice their opinion and to be heard
  2. How easily extremist or special interest elements can take over a democracy when people aren’t engaged politically
  3. How critical civic engagement is to solving our country’s problems through both political and non-political means.
As someone who has always enjoyed serving the community, I found myself struggling with the whole event as a citizen. We were going to lose our perfect credit rating and possibly unwind economic progress following the Great Recession. How could government fail to serve the American people at such a critical time? Was it even Washington’s fault or were other forces at work? My reflection from this event influenced my sense of purpose. I had passions around technology, politics, problem-solving, and public/community service, but I didn’t know how all of that translated to my purpose. What could I do as an ordinary citizen to help solve the problem in Washington? 

It was a wake-up call. One that would eventually lead me to develop a civic engagement platform to help give the silent majority a voice in their government and put accountable, transparent, accessible government at the people’s fingertips. I knew I had to do something – I knew I had to step up.

At its heart, democracy is the open exchange of ideas where the majority gets to decide and the minority gets to be heard. We need a way to protect that – we need a way to make sure political extremism and special interests on both sides of the aisle do not derail democracy itself. To me, our democracy is at stake and, thus, the core of our country’s future is at stake. So, I took myself off auto-pilot and am trying to do something about it now!

- Jesse Chen
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Answered about 2 years ago jchen 26 from United States


Yes, hurricane sandy has effected my life greatly living on the east coast I have never in my life time even came close to such a distaster. I have worked with some red cross workers doing what we could by raising money and still raising what we can. I have been having problems with my own 501c3 and just got notification from irs to procede; so this allows me at least, think about doing more.


Answered about 2 years ago sherwoodabbott 4 from United States


Crisis is my focus in life, or better the solutions to crisis in my community, and world wide, are my focus. 

As a volunteer radio operator I have communicated world wide to save lives. Boats, Atlantic and Pacific have called on an all volunteer team of experts. In rescues, and as a civilian uniformed member of the United States Coast guard Aux (unpaid) and a ham radio op I have helped many. 

From the lady that swam through the oily New Orleans water, pregnant, that needed a helicopter lift to safety from the hospital, or the damaged power station that needed to contact the Federal Government, or many more rescues or assisted rescues

I know personal crisis. beaten, bullied, and raised in a federal housing projects, in Cleveland, Ohio. I lifted myself and my friends into college; I earned my business degree in small business, then crisis struck! 

As a  car accident passenger, I earned a broken clavicle during school. another time, a broken neck after a Sears carpet truck ran me off road,  Diverticulitis disease made my 30s tough, getting two bags not just one, 40s depression heart disease stent, hernia, missing linings in my abdomen. –every month is crisis around here – I struggle to work however, even while sick I appraised homes, and made web solutions for business. 

I work  with wood now because my back and body is as worn as my 96 Mercury and it is harder to focus on programming and coding. I will win. 

When I can not do real work, I tweet to save freedom as @liveedges, and I follow many crisis situations, minute by minute, I publish 20 or so “newspapers online” 2 times a day each and offer help to all. 

And if that is not crisis enough, I have been married 31 years (to the same person), hows that for crisis! she is a local waitress and works hard and long. She makes min wage and tips, I earn what I can sell in cutting boards and nice 2" thick tables. 

Crisis seems to have minted me, and my wife Chris. there was a recent multiple homicide at her job slowing business, and I will have to take my tools home  from mill. 

CRISIS:Mill being sold for bigger place, AFTER TWO YEARS OF SWEAT EQUITY WITH MILL OWNER, I’M JUST OUT! The mill is just one of Cleveland’s leaking warehouses, but the some might say “low”, initial costs prevent me from taking advantage. My very small mall store closed when the whole mall went under.Cleveland is very poor. 

Our dream to have furniture shop and gallery w small truck and saw to rescue trees, this would enable us with a real income, a way to retire, and return some dignity to our lives, and after a few years,take our very first vacation in our lives. 

This business Idea would affect  many; our local hardwoods going to chippers by the truck, a waste like redwoods out west, a world-wide crisis. I have a crisis, a need to to survive and be sitting pretty with my glass of lemonade. 

My sense of purpose has been focused. I no longer wait. For anything. I do not care when someone says, “You can not do that”, when, I know I can. Crisis focused my need to provide for my wife when I am gone

Crisis, you will either be a victim or a rescuer, either way you will come out smarter when you make it. 
Answer : yes more than most.
Answered about 2 years ago rob norris 4 from United States



Answered about 2 years ago ziad jan 2 from Pakistan



Answered about 2 years ago bridget kamagara ayeza 2 from Uganda


Yes, had I not experience bankruptcy, material loss and overall personal challenges to now share my Fathers home with him, I would not have ever known who I truly am. Never have asked myself what I wanted to do or what I even liked. I just coasted and stumbled into success for so long. Now, I am at peace with myself and have more focus now then ever. It was worth the price!

Answered almost 2 years ago why can't i just answer the question? 29 from unknown