It's really hard to believe that this will be my fifth year as Chicago TARDIS Charity Auction director. (Chicago TARDIS, for those of you who are unaware, is a Doctor Who-themed convention that happens every November in Lombard). Not only does it support Northern Illinois Food Bank, but it's also a way for me to enjoy the convention on a different level. For example, there's always the great assortment of fan-created and donated items and cosplay that I get to see on a regular basis (check out the gallery below)
But more importantly, the work that goes into the Chicago TARDIS charity auction not only allows me to feel fulfilled professionally...but also helps me feel valued, and that my values and ethics - like that of Doctor Who - are being reflected
My professional background involves community building and engagement - living in St. Louis, it meant engaging the community directly face-to-face, attending meetings, and building programs (And usually involved tobacco) Here in Chicago, it has been mostly through social media...and although yes, I have volunteered off and on, my professional and family commitments have meant that my time is precious. Working the Chicago TARDIS charity auction has allowed me to master both worlds - engaging friends, colleagues, and others to help through item donations, spreading the word via social media and general moral support.
But it's also the smaller moments - when Mat Irvine (who worked on special effects for the classic series of Doctor Who) donated a communicator prop from the story Warriors of the Deep. Getting to know a wide variety of people who have some curiosity about what we're offering. And most importantly....building that sense of community. It's no wonder that we've raised over $10,000 over the past five years.
So now, how can you help? Here are a few suggestions:
- If you have any great fan-created Doctor Who items or memorabilia, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or use my contact me page for an additional level of anonymity
- Make a direct donation via our new online portal at http://bit.ly/ChicagoTARDISDonate
- Note - this year, we are not collecting food items, mostly because we're not only seeing a decline in food item donations, but many food banks prefer the cash
- Spread this note via social media...getting the word out helps us reach a wider range of potential donors and sponsors.
But for me, the best thing about running the Chicago TARDIS charity auction is how it reflects my own values...and the values of the show. In the recent series closer, Peter Capaldi (as the 12th Doctor) gives a speech that strikes at the very heart of our current experience:
If you've caught the news at any point in the past six months, you're acutely aware at the amount of dissension, conflict, and anger. One side has made it clear that anyone who embraces diversity, equality, and addressing the changing nature of our community deserves to be persecuted and punished. Divisiveness and hatred are threatening to tear our social fabric into shreds...and that for many of us, kindness is not just warranted, it's needed to maintain some sense of sanity in an ever-increasingly belligerent society.
That's ultimately why I enjoy running the Chicago TARDIS charity auction - entering data, entering past inventory, following up with bidders, all of this isn't merely because I enjoy a free convention. (Because I love working conventions). It's because, in my own small way, I get to show kindness. My current experience is split between caring for my mother, trying to acquire new freelance work, and keeping current with freelance assignments. My social life is slowly, but surely, improving..but it's easy for me to get stuck in that narrow mindset. The Chicago TARDIS charity auction is a great opportunity for me to express my own personal values: compassion, empathy, inclusion, and kindness....in a way that allows me to engage my fandom and make a greater impact on the community. Being Chicago TARDIS charity auction director allows me to express my values and engage in the kind of community building work that I love...
Because where I stand is where I fall.
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And as always, thanks for reading!