What a Woman Who Does Good Looks Like

By Claudia Wittel

Photo by Janelle Pol

Photo by Janelle Pol

From the moment our morning alarms go off, we have decisions to make. Do we hit snooze one time or ten? Do we rise promptly to face the new day, perhaps with time to read, plan the day ahead, or exercise and enjoy a freshly brewed cup of coffee? 

Even though many choices seem trivial, every day we make decisions that carry with them great significance. I don’t know about you, but I don’t typically wake up thinking “Will I do good today?” 

ACTING ON GOOD INTENTIONS

The significance of our daily choices and their impact on the world for "good" (or otherwise) began to strike me when I stumbled into my work in the nonprofit field when hurricane Mitch struck Honduras, the country where I was born. I had relatives back home and was desperate to do something to help. News about the disaster was limited at best and other than donating, there seemed to be little I could do to help. Looking back, I realize that was a turning point for me. 

I could have sat back and complained about the lack of coverage on the news, or the lack of concern from people in general. This great desire to help drove me to contact the Honduran Consulate General’s office and before I knew it, I was mobilizing my first relief effort. My church offered up the local gym as the collection center and as we spread the word, we gathered two 18-wheeler trucks worth of supplies, and a full shipping container. 

This experience awakened my soul to the invitation I believe God gives each of us to be part of the movement in this world that does good. In that season, I realized how my corporate experience, skills and passion lined up beautifully to do good for others. It was then that I began whispering a little prayer, “God, if you would allow me to do more of this type of work, I would really not mind.” (It was really that feeble and simple.)

WORDS COMBINED WITH ACTIONS

Whether encountering a crisis or a daily habit, we each face a moment of decision. If we intentionally turn — in my case, from complaining that no one was doing anything about the need to actually taking a step towards being part of the solution — we might be surprised to find that many people, in fact, do want to “do good” and simply don’t know how. 

What does a woman who “does good” look like? In my line of work, I have spotted her over and over again. To start, she is someone who is brave. She talks down fear. She is the friend that deposits courage into those desperate for it. Her words combined with her actions leave a trail of hope wherever she goes. She speaks truth and loves generously. Her generous living reaches more lives than she realizes.

Looking back on that prayer now, I realize it was very small and perhaps even a little lame. But God wastes no prayer! I now get to serve with New York City Relief, where we mobilize resources from individuals, companies, and churches to help the poor and those struggling with homelessness on a daily basis. I have met so many amazing women who choose to live lives characterized by combining their words with actions — by doing good. 

What good are you passionate about doing? What action can you take?

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An immigrant from Honduras, Claudia Guardado-Wittel serves as Vice President for Advancement at New York City Relief, a nonprofit offering hope and help to individuals struggling with homelessness. Her leadership has been instrumental in growing the organization. She is a lover of coffee and kayaking. You can find Claudia at her beach house with her husband, Keith, of 27 years. They are proud parents to three adult children.