Kevin Guillory, YP Pulse, April 24, 2017
A year ago, I was on a Sunday evening cruise around Lafayette with a friend. Being a passenger allowed me to take in my surroundings and notice things that I normally don’t when I’m driving. As we were riding down Ambassador Caffery between the Bertrand split and I-10, I saw the overgrown grass in the median, the torn up shoulder, and numerous potholes. I thought to myself, “they should really do something about this.” It was at that moment that I had an epiphany. So many times in my life, I’ve approached things with a “they should” attitude instead of asking what I could do. It’s a lot easier to talk about something than to do something.
In the age of social media, it is simple to like, share, and comment. All this is done without getting our hands dirty, and it can give us a false sense of accomplishment. When perusing local Facebook pages, it is common to see people complain about certain businesses opening in town. These people say things like, “we don’t need another one of those” or “we need more of this or that.” Very rarely are these the people who are quitting their day jobs, taking out a bank loan, or pouring their life savings into a business venture. It’s easy to be an armchair quarterback when it comes to our community; I’ve been there.
What are you passionate about? What improvements would you like to see in our community? Now, are you on the sidelines or are you on the field? There are plenty of causes in Lafayette to support. Everything from improved transportation methods to handicap accessibility to helping children in poverty with their education. If nothing immediately comes to your mind, just open your eyes. A need will soon be in front of you.
One of my favorite quotes is, “Love finds a need and meets it.” I don’t believe it’s possible to love our community without meeting the different needs of our community, whatever it may be.
One thing that can stop of us from stepping out is the feeling that we as individuals can’t make a difference. We may believe that because we don’t know the right people, we don’t have the right last name, or we don’t have permission from certain “gatekeepers” that we can’t contribute. This once was my mindset, but I learned this year that this is not the case.
Last October, I was visiting Northside High School to help students fill out college applications. As I was looking around the library, I noticed that there were no business books. Having earned my bachelor’s in marketing and currently working on my MBA, I know the importance of getting kids interested in business at a young age.
Without any previous connections, I reached out to the Moody College of Business at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the Upper Lafayette Economic Development Foundation. With their help, I was able to deliver a box full of books on business, leadership, and personal development to the librarians at Northside. They were very grateful that people in the community cared enough to contribute to the education of their students. I share this story to show you that it is possible. With technology allowing us access to others, it is easier to find people who share our passion or who are willing to get behind our cause.
I encourage you to step off of the sidelines and onto the field. You have something unique to offer this community and we need it. You can make a difference. Just take the first step.
Kevin Guillory works as an admissions counselor at UL. He is also is pursuing his Masters in Business Administration at the university. He and his wife, La’Toya, have a 501(c)3 nonprofit named F.I.R.E. Ministries Inc. that is working to provide resources to youth aging out of foster care in Acadiana. He also has a 10-month old mini-me named Kevin Jr.