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Talking with #MakeItHappen Micro Grant Recipient: Lindsay Hirsch!

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Lindsay is a 2011 graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, earning a dual-degree and triple major in Chinese, International Business and Marketing. She is currently a Product Manager for 5 Horizons Group based in Dongguan, China.

Lindsay’s idea to promote Jewish culture and community in Dongguan, starting with a communal Chanukah dinner celebration, was recently chosen to receive a $1,000 #MakeItHappen micro grant! To read more about her project and to volunteer to help her #MakeItHappen visit Lindsay's idea page.

What three hashtags would you use to describe yourself?

#ohtheplacesyoullgo #wishuponastar #workhardplayhard

What inspired you to apply for a #MakeItHappen micro grant and what do you hope it will achieve?

I am always looking to make positive changes for myself and my community. Earlier this year, I celebrated Yom Kippur in China with only a few Jewish friends. Days later, we learned there were many Jewish people in and around Dongguan who had nothing to do for Yom Kippur but we didn't even know they existed! I received an email from #MakeItHappen and decided to apply, hoping to create a sense of Jewish community in Dongguan, China.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

I lost my father almost a year ago. One of the last things my dad said to me was that I have done more in my 23 years than most people do in a lifetime. Knowing that I have each day to continue making my dad proud is what gets me out of bed in the morning. Of course I live for me, but I also very much live for him.

What is one change you want to see in the world?

I’ll start with the conventional answer: I hope for world peace, human rights and equality. It’s true, I really do hope for these things. I also hope to see important change on a smaller scale. Just like everyone else in this high-tech age, I am guilty of using my cell phone to text and send emails rather than actually calling someone. I would love to see the world become less dependent on technology and more interested in communicating ideas, thoughts and feelings in person.

What is the biggest risk you have taken and how did it pay off?

Since I began studying Chinese in high school, I have always wanted to move to China. Actually taking the leap of faith and making the move is the biggest risk I've ever taken. I have learned so much about not only Chinese culture and product development, but also about myself.

Have you ever failed before and what lessons did you learn?

Of course I've failed before! Failure, whether it be on a large or small scale, is inevitable in life. Failure has taught me that I am a strong person and it has given me an ironic sense of inner security as I have pushed through adversity with determination and discipline in order to succeed.

Who are your heroes?

This is an easy one! My parents are my heroes. I am the luckiest girl because I have two parents that have always doubled as best friends. My mom and dad are the most selfless, loving, supportive and hard-working people I have ever met, and they have always made sure that I live the best life possible. I love them both with all my heart.

Where do you find solitude?

I find solitude in exercise. I love lifting weights, climbing the StairMaster and dancing. Exercise is such an important and powerful stress reliever!

Where do you find community?

Especially while living abroad, I find community in connecting and sharing stories with good friends--both near and afar.

If you had to give up one modern convenience what would it be and why?

Upon moving to China, I've given up a microwave, oven, car, cable TV and non-VPN access to Facebook and YouTube. I should probably also give up my cell phone and the tanning bed since I use them too much for my own good...

What is your favorite Jewish memory?

My favorite Jewish memory that comes to mind is my Bat Mitzvah. While I loved sharing and celebrating my Bat Mitzvah with my family and friends, I honestly think my favorite Jewish memories are yet to come. I have been selected for the Taglit-Birthright Israel experience in January, and I am so excited to begin the incredible journey and adventure ahead!

The Schusterman Philanthropic Network is proud to empower emerging leaders to explore their values, identity and new ways to strengthen their communities. We believe that as we work together to repair the world, it is important to share our diverse experiences and perspectives along the way. We encourage the expression of personal thoughts and reflections here on the Schusterman blog. Each post reflects solely the opinion of its author and does not necessarily represent the views of the Foundation, its partner organizations or all program participants.