genrescue-1I always knew I wanted to do good. In school, they teach you the most important thing is to do well. To get the grades, to make lots of friends, to participate in extracurricular activities; to do everything right on paper. Where they really miss the mark is on the importance of doing good; giving back; being selfless. And how those are the pieces to finding your true purpose.

Often times, I catch myself with selfish objects. Naturally, we’re raised to achieve. Altruism is often a leftover piece; only a secondary add-on. And for what? To look good on a resume? To score extra points applying for college? Why isn’t it a primary?

Achieving paper credentials was nice but never fulfilling for me. It lacked meaning, which therefore, lacked purpose for me.

I was 15 when I found something that really mattered to me: my cause. My brother was recently diagnosed with autism. A diagnosis that was completely foreign to me. I didn’t understand it. I didn’t know how to help him. I just knew I had be a support system for my mother and try to be the best big brother possible. Along our journey to help Ethan, I came across an organization called Generation Rescue. It was a foundation based in Los Angeles that funded medical treatment for families affected by autism. This was an organization giving families hope. Getting them guidance and advice to directly improve their child’s quality of life; offering assistance and access to physicians trained to help their kids, labs testing, nutritional counseling, access to essential vitamins and supplements. Their website alone had a plethora of information and resources that I read constantly. They got us started on the right track and helped us find Ethan the best support available. They changed our lives completely and within a weeks of finding them, I knew this is where my heart belonged.

That summer I began volunteering and hosting local fundraisers for the organization to spread awareness and raise money to support families like my own. Along the way, I met so many other incredible parents, caregivers, supporters and siblings like myself. (I like to call us the Sibling Warriors fighting to help our brothers and sisters.) Meeting them and connecting with them felt right and paved a path for my own personal journey outside my brother’s diagnosis.

Now, almost seven years later, I’m proud to be part of the core team at Generation Rescue, getting to meet families at the start of their journey. The same place we were in not too long ago. My life, my outlook, my perspective, and my purpose have completely changed and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am humbled and grateful to join other families on their journeys and offer them a little shot of hope.

Giving back shouldn’t be a question. It should be second nature. And it can come in many forms. From donating a dollar to spending your afternoon volunteering your time to simply holding the door open for the person behind you the next time you leave a building (I mean, what has happened to common courtesy?). Small gestures can lead to big impact. But it starts with small individual actions on a daily basis.

The moral of the story? You’re a small piece of a bigger picture. So follow your heart, give back, and play your part. We’re the pieces that connect to a greater community…so do your part! And you’ll be surprised by how clear your own path becomes when you change your outlook. You get what you give. So, start giving a little more!

At Conscious, we are inspired by stories that cause us to think differently and think big-picture and so we set out to tell stories with the help of leaders and influencers within the social good community. You can read more stories like this when you join as a member.