The greatest gifts are seldom the biggest ones, or the most expensive ones. Often, what can seem to be a little gesture can have a profound effect. It can even be as simple as just keeping a promise.

Michaela joined Alliance Abroad Group’s South African team in January of 2019.  It was an exciting opportunity for someone who likes helping people, and working with a cultural exchange organization felt like a good career fit.  At first the job was daunting. She had to learn lots of new technical jargon, but she enjoyed the challenge, and quickly felt at home with the staff and her new boss.

It had been a hectic last few years. She had completed University and her mind had been preoccupied with the normal post-school decisions such as which career path to consider, finding a job and where to live.

With that behind her, her inner voice reminded her of a promise she made years past to herself and to an organization that had never left her heart:  St. George’s Home for Girls.

While attending University, Michaela’s church had created a “Give Back” weekend to help organizations that were doing good works.  Michaela’s team discovered St. George’s Home for Girls and its mission to provide girls from three- to 20-years-old with a safe place to stay.  Michaela’s team brought nail polish and face masks , hair ribbons and make-up, indulging the girls in a day of spa-like luxury. The joy Michaela saw in the eyes of those girls was something she knew she’d never forget.  At the time she had little spare money or time, but she promised herself that if she was ever in a position to help St. George’s, she would.

Now, with a solid job and co-workers who would join her in honoring that promise, Michaela initially considered creating another Spa Saturday for the girls, and shared her idea with the team, but scheduling proved difficult. Michaela approached Jennifer, her Managing Director, and mentioned that August was Women’s Month in South Africa.  An activity to support St. George’s would be a great way to celebrate the month and help the girls’ home at the same time.  Jennifer suggested arranging a clothing drive for the girls.

“There wasn’t even a moment’s pause.” Michaela says, “We were all in immediately.” The team posted flyers throughout the entire office building. Soon other companies and their employees noticed and joined the cause, too. Michaela and her AAG team were overwhelmed and deeply touched by the generosity.

“People brought clothes and so much more,” she said. “They brought books, toys, and jewelry and would put their donations in a large box.”

Every Tuesday that August, Michaela drove the donations to St. George’s.  “The little girls would all run up to the car and help me unpack, taking out bags and bags of shoes and make-up and clothing, all the essentials for a young girl.”  But what surprised Michaela the most was the reaction to the toys. “They were so grateful for everything we delivered, but to see the delight of the children as they played with the toys reminded me you never know how much good even the smallest things can do.”

There is an old saying, “It is in the smallest of moments that the most significant things are revealed.” Sometimes all it takes is to keep one small promise that in the end, wasn’t small at all.

To learn more about St. George’s Home for Girls, please visit http://st-georges.org.za

Author: Theo Kitchen