Dawn Nagy: How 10 years with ONE changed my life

Dawn, center, visiting ONE’s offices in Washington, D.C., in 2006

Dawn Nagy has been a ONE member since our launch in 2004, and reflects on her journey fighting to end extreme poverty for our 10th Anniversary.

I joined ONE 10 years ago. We’re talking when it first began.

I had been following the work of DATA (Debt AIDS Trade Africa) and heard about this new organization that was affiliated with it, The ONE Campaign. I was intrigued by the idea of all these top NGOs (World Vision, Bread for the World, CARE, etc.) joining forces to raise awareness and call people to action on big global issues. And Bono and Bobby Shriver (two philanthropic icons in my book) were behind it?

Count me in.

I have always loved big issues. Debating them, trying to understand them… I’m all about it. And for the life of me, I could not wrap my head around the concept that there were people in this world who did not have access to something as simple and vital as clean water. People who die from malaria and dysentery? You must be joking.

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Dawn, second from left, hosts Bishop Mususu at Rollins College in 2008 – with ONE faith leader Adam Phillips, ONE Vote 08 Florida Coordinator Jedidiah Hall, and ONE volunteer Jody Miller.

So I found an amazing group of ONE volunteers in Orlando, Florida, and we got to work. Over the years, I’ve organized watch parties, AIDS walks, crop walks, U2charists, political events, movie screenings, concerts, radio interviews, and dozens of legislative meetings.

And I can honestly say that every ounce of it has been rewarding – and fun.

The proudest moments for me have been when legislation – that we’ve often been working on for years – finally passes. And I’m also crazy proud when I get to mentor new advocates. Watching new people use their passion and their voice on behalf of people they will never meet? That’s golden. I am always amazed at what dedicated and passionate people can accomplish.

For any new advocates out there, I want to give you one piece of advice: just speak from your heart. You don’t have to know all of the facts. While your knowledge is important – and I encourage you to learn about the issues – nothing matters more than your passion and your voice. It’s OK if you haven’t memorized every detail. Just speak from your heart and tell people what’s important to you. You’ll discover that is when they truly listen.

As I look back on 10 years, I know that ONE has given me more than I could ever give in return. I have had opportunities I never would have dreamed of. I’m more outspoken and confident. I get to talk about big issues. I hang out with fellow advocates, who are some of the most amazing people on the planet. And I get to help the poorest of the poor. Count me in.

Celebrate ONE’s anniversary with our interactive timeline for the past 10 years!