Taking Action – You Can Do It!

It’s true that if you want something bad enough, you figure out a way to make it happen. It started in early June, when asked during an interview what I was currently “excited” about. While excited isn’t exactly the word I would use, (I prefer outraged, distraught or livid) my response was quick: The BP Oil Drilling Disaster. This question made me think, what good is my frustration if I wasn’t doing anything about it? Why wasn’t I taking action?While I know many people dedicate their life to this type of work, I was about to embark on a journey that was completely foreign and extremely intimidating. Here I was, a community college drop-out, a suburban Seattleite working in the beauty industry; a pretty average girl next door.I often let my intuition guide me, regardless how unconventional it may be. So with little preparation and a whole lot of passion, I dove in. I educated myself on everything regarding the oil disaster, launched a website, www.gulfrecovery.webs.com, opened up Erin’s Gulf Recovery Fund, set a hefty goal of $15,000, began fundraising efforts and started organizing an auction.I reached out to my friends, family and those in the fashion industry to create awareness on the devastation happening in the Gulf. I was greeted with excitement and doubt, pessimism and pride. I was supported by most, surprised by some and abandoned by others.This project no longer was just about helping out with the oil disaster. It became a journey of self-discovery, one where I would step out of my comfort zone, take action and really challenge myself, all while encouraging others to do the same.On September 2nd while working for the Gulf Restoration Network in New Orleans, I was given the opportunity to travel via “Tar Ball Express” (pictured in the photo above, with me) to Venice, Louisiana. I spent hours talking with Derrick Evans, an activist and the founder of Turkey Creek Community Initiatives, a non-profit devoted to restoring coastal communities. He asked me my story and how I ended up so far from home. I told him I was there representing the average American, the one with limited resources, zero experience and who, like so many, was deeply upset about the BP oil disaster, but wasn’t sure what they could do to help.Derrick then told me something I will never forget. He looked at me and said that I was exactly the type of person that makes the world a better place. If more people like me could get past their fears, push away their self doubt and attempt to make change by taking action, the world would be a lot better off. This meant the world to me, especially coming from someone like him.In the 60 days Erin’s Gulf Recovery was active, I raised $4,224. A far stretch from my $15,000 goal, but in my eyes, a great accomplishment.My time with the Gulf Restoration Network has brought light to many subjects I knew little about just months ago. This has been an eye opening and positive experience to say the least, and I will continue to support the Gulf Restoration Network and their powerful mission.- Erin TinsleyErin is a model and esthetician from Seattle, Washington and volunteered at the GRN in early September. She and photographer Leo Lam are hosting a fundraising auction, Clean Coast: An Evening Benefiting the Gulf Coast Recovery, on September 24th, in Seattle, Washington at Eterea Studio, 619 Western Avenue, 2nd Floor North.Please read more about Erin’s expriences helping with Gulf coast recovery at http://gulfrecovery.webs.com/

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