Author Archives: Eryn Mills

The Impossible Reading Response

The reading from the Impossible really touched home with me because it opened up with a woman talking about her own paralysis and how debilitating it can be. Before my father suffered a stroke in the fall of freshman year that left him paralyzed on the right side of his body, I never would have been able to relate to that reading in the way that I have. Before my dad’s paralysis, he was an incredibly mobile man. This was a man who drove around all day for work and would come back at 6 pm to play basketball with his kids. He was the one taught me how to dribble a basketball and got me hooked on sports. Thus, I think that you can understand the frustration that he now feels on a daily basis when he needs help to perform daily tasks that were once automatic for him.

I have noticed this idea that there is an ability for all different people to make a change that can have a major impact on another individual’s life in a different light as my family continues to journey through my dad’s disability. There are some amazing people who go out of their way to do what we may deem “little things” for my dad, but they make his day a thousand times better. He can no longer just drive aimlessly like he used to, but when someone comes to take him on a drive to the beach on a bad day, it can change his entire mood. We may have forgotten the amount of impact that these actions can have on a person, but I can tell you that it means the world to people like my dad.

Little changes really do matter. I can attest to this as I have seen people make dinners for my family when we were going back and forth between the hospital and just did not have a spare moment to cook. I have seen it when my dad finally got his license this year and drove for the first time in over a year. I have seen it on my mom’s face when one of my middle school teachers sent in gift cards this Christmas to help her out with our Christmas shopping. As one of idols John Wooden once said, “It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”

Current Thoughts Giving Games

As time has continued in this project, I continue to support our choice of Partners in Health to receive the donation from Jepson. Using MacAskill’s book to evaluate our charity, I can say that I am very impressed with the effectiveness and transparency of the charity across the board. That is what makes this charity so different from the rest. Based on the material that we have covered for class and our in-class discussions, PIH meets all the needs of requirements of a charity that is most effective. One of the most important things that we have found while researching this charity is its overall transparency on its website, particularly in regards to their allocation of funds and their goal as a company. This transparency allows potential donors to see exactly what kind of charity that they are putting their money into, and how it will be used in the future. The website also does an incredible job of detailing what they have done/plan to do in the future in the countries that they work with, which is also incredibly important because it shows not only how the organization has been successful in their endeavors so far, but their potential to improve.

The research that we have done has only strengthened my belief that PIH is deserving of the Jepson donation. There are multiple reputable websites that only speak highly of PIH as an organization. One of those reputable sources is Charity Navigator which has rated the charity as a 5-star charity. In the area of cost-effectiveness, it is clear that PIH has been successful in dividing their funds. According to Charity Navigator, which has received its information directly from PIH, the company spends 91.5% of their funds directly on their programs expenses, while roughly 3.7% of the funds go to administrative expenses. This is important to note, because it is clear that the organization is dedicated to using their funds to aid people, rather than providing over exorbitant salaries to their workers.

Partners in Health also gives its funds to those who are really in need. It works with providing the poorest of the poor with healthcare opportunities that otherwise would not be available to them. PIH is really involved with improving the overall quality of life of these individuals. Our resources have also provided success stories of the charity in different countries, for example there was an article about the successes of the company in Rwanda and how they have helped to rapidly improve the healthcare system. They have allowed for many of the citizens to be treated and have worked to fight diseases that used to take out large populations in Rwanda, thus allowing them to start researching/treating other diseases that they used to not have time for- for example cancer. There was also an article about a university that PIH has founded that is dedicated to educating those on the issue of health, and using a principle of health equity to work to overcome issues of global health. It is important to see how PIH continues to work to improve the quality of life of the individuals that it works with, and that they are providing not only physical opportunities to better people’s lives, but an educational aspect as well.

Partners in Health 6 Sources

  1. “Partners in Health.” Partners in Health. p., n.d. Web 18 March 2017.

The Partners in Health website has been created by the charity itself for potential donors to be given insight into the charity’s mission, goals, and overall effectiveness across multiple different dimensions. The website has been incredibly helpful for our group in allowing us to really understand what the Partners in Health organization actually is and what it is setting out to accomplish. This website has provided some very beneficial information and will continue to be of use to our group as we continue in the project because it is not only very reliable, but it is very clear to understand.

Our group could use the Partners in Health Website to advocate that the charity is “doing the most good” like we have discussed in class and MacAskill has talked about in his book. The website provides the reader with the clear goals of the organization under a tab on the website title “Our Mission.” On this page, the goals that are outlined are: “to bring the benefits of modern medical science to those most in need of them and to serve as an antidote to despair.” Partners in Health also directly outlines the countries that are receiving funds and the amount of people who are receiving the help that they need. The website is structured very well so that a visitor on the page would be able to search and find exactly what they were looking for, rather than be tricked like many other websites. Thus, we could use this website to show how effective the charity has been with its funds and allocating them to those who need them most.


  1. “Partners in Health.” N.p., n.d. Web 18 March 2017.

The Skoll Foundation was founded in 199 by Jeff Skoll in order to help him pursue his vision of a sustainable world with peace and prosperity. The following quote summarizes what the Skoll Foundation is all about, “The Skoll Foundation drives large-scale change by investing in, connecting, and celebrating social entrepreneurs and innovators who help them solve the world’s most pressing problems.” This foundation awarded Partners in Health with their Skoll Award in 2008 due to their goals, impact/ability to change, and their ambition.

This website is helpful for our group because it outlines some more information about PIH that was not on the organization’s website. It also adds credibility to the organization as a whole and gives weight to how successful PIH has been in its endeavors. This source has been around for a while and it has been recognizing different organizations for their ability to impact positive change throughout the world. It also gives more insight into the founder of PIH, his initial goals, and his successes with the organization as far as 2008. It is also important to note that the website has since updated its information on PIH and how the organization has continued to remain effective in the years following being the recipient of the Skoll Award in 2008. We will use this source to demonstrate the effectiveness of the charity and its known ability to have a positive impact on a wide variety of individuals who are in desperate need of aid.


  1. Hamblin, James. “The Moral Medical Mission: Partners In Health 25 Years On.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 01 Oct. 2012. Web. 18 Mar. 2017.

This article focuses on how Partners in Health originated and how it has come to be such a success over the years. A main focus of the article was on the direct impact that PIH has had in creating medical centers that have been successfully treating individuals with different types of illnesses. It brings about the fact that PIH has been instrumental in advancing the treatment in many different infectious diseases that used to wipe out entire families in Rwanda, and due to their successes in this area they have been able to focus on the treatment of different types of illnesses. One area they have been able to focus on is the high rate of cancer in Rwanda that often went untreated and is now given a lot more attention.

This article will yet again add to the argument that our group will make about the effectiveness of PIH as a whole. It speaks of the goals of the organization, some of the successes that the organization has seen, and why it has been so successful. We could tie in the base beliefs of the founders that the author addressed throughout the entire article. It allows the reader to see that PIH has been so effective and successful due to the partnerships that it has formed throughout the duration of its existence. This would be very helpful in our paper because it allows us to show a quantifiable success story rather than just refer to statistics and studies on a website.


  1. “Rating for Partners In Health.” Charity Navigator. p., n.d. Web 18 March 2017.

This source provides direct statistical evidence that point to the effectiveness of the charity. It helps to show just how transparent this organization is and what leads to their successful allocation of funds.


  1. “Dr. Farmer’s Remedy For World Health.” CBS News. CBS Interactive, 04 May 2008. Web. 19 Mar. 2017.

This source will help us to continue to argue just how effective PIH is because it offers an interview with Paul Farmer and shows what steps he has taken to allow PIH to become the global success that it is now. It mentions the emphasis on the goals of the organization and the ability to use community to achieve these goals, rather than trying to solve the world’s problems alone.


  1. Kantegwa, Sharon. “New University to Integrate Development into Health Sector.” The New Times Rwanda. p., n.d. Web 18 March 2017.

This article is helpful because it shows that PIH is continuing to advance their ability to make an impact in the world of global health- not just in the world of hospitals and physical health, but also in educating individuals to allow for a world where more people are conscious of how the importance of healthcare.

The Righteous Mind

I found what Haidt was discussing throughout these three chapters to be incredibly interesting and thought provoking. It was helpful when he mentioned famous psychologists such as Piaget and Kohlberg and their different developmental stages. It was interesting to see how a child’s morality is constructed through time and the effect that delays in the different stages can have on their ability to make moral decisions. It resonated with me when Haidt was discussing how a child’s morality is self-constructed due to their experiences with other children. This idea brought me back to my Justice class where we read the novel Just Mercy by Brian Stevenson. In the novel, Stevenson brings up the idea of becoming proximate to a situation in order to be able to better understand it. I think that this is exactly what Haidt is talking about when he talks about morality being self-constructed with experiences- our decision and ability to make moral judgements starts from a young age due to the proximity that we have to certain situations. When we are younger, it is much harder to make moral decisions because we have not been exposed to as many difficult scenarios that require reasoning, however with time and more experiences we are (hopefully) better able to make better decisions. How proximate we are to certain situations will impact our decisions and our ability to empathize with others.

It was also interesting how Haidt spoke about the tendency of individuals to make snap judgements based off of their emotions and then work to defend them. When dealing with moral choices, it is not really about a black and white “truth” because there are so many different versions of the truth and what is seen as “right” by different societies. We as humans often make snap decisions that are rooted in our own interests and beliefs without even thinking about other possibilities, or how others would feel in a given situation. We must work to be more acutely aware of the social reasoning due to choices that individuals make, rather than censuring individuals on their choices. However, at the same time we must also work to be able to make sound judgements and back them up with sound reasoning. That is the ultimate dilemma because as humans we are so inclined to make decisions instantly and then defend them just because we think that we are right. Ultimately, one of our main downfalls as humans is our unfailing ability to succumb to our own stubbornness, rather than working to understand different types of reasoning.

The Top of Bravery

On Thursday evening, I went to watch The Top of Bravery: An Evening with Bert Williams– the play that my SSIR Travel for Discovery community has been working to bring to campus since this past August. The messages that this one play promotes are truly life changing and mind opening. The Top of Bravery is a monologue depicting the struggles that Bert Williams, a black performer during the vaudeville era faced during his length in the entertainment industry. Although audiences absolutely loved Bert and his wonderful acts he was still subject to the extreme racism and hate that surrounded African Americans during this time. He was forced to wear blackface during his performances, although he was an African American man, and he did not enjoy any of the luxuries that the white performers were able to during this time. Bert Williams’ struggles were depicted brilliantly onstage by playwright and actor Jeremy Morris.

When I first read the script back in September, I honestly did not believe that this play would be as much of a success as it was. I promoted the play to my best ability (because it was part of my grade), although at the time I did not think that it was all that special. When I finally saw it in person, 6 months removed from originally reading the play, I was reminded how powerful the arts are in conveying messages to a multitude of people. Playwright and actor Jeremy Morris invited the entire audience to view an entirely different perspective on an issue- something that we do not always get to do. Humans tend to shy away from discussions that make them feel uncomfortable, however in order to fix certain situations we need to talk about them, no matter how uncomfortable they make us feel. That is why we often do not consider viewing something from another’s perspective, simply because it makes us feel uncomfortable, however this is exactly what Jeremy shows us we need to do more of in order to put an end to oppression.

During the talk-back panel at the end of the show, I was blown away by what the 3 panelists had to say. The most important message that I took away from the talk back was that we need to continue to fight the oppression that blacks face in today’s society. While we have taken steps forward, blacks continue to face racism and different obstacles in their daily lives- meaning that we have many more uncomfortable talks coming up in the near future to even begin to fix this issue. Jeremy Morris talked about the idea that there is an archetypal “black guy” that is promoted in the entertainment industry, and when blacks do not fulfill this role they are told to act “more black,” often by whites. He raised the question that how can someone be told to act “more black” when they are acting the only way that they know how? How can an individual be told that their people only act one certain way by someone else, when in fact that individual knows that this is not true? How do they conform to this stereotype and what effect does this have on the person?

As critical thinkers, we need to realize that these types of questions are often forgotten in society, and we need to bring them up to combat racial injustice. We need to force the world to have more uncomfortable conversations in order to overcome the discrimination is still prevalent. That is the only way that we can begin to overcome these problems.

Collapse Eryn Mills

I found these two chapters of Diamond’s novel to be incredibly interesting when read together. It took a long time for the first chapter to pick up and for me to grasp onto any concept that would be used to connect this reading to our class. However, as soon as it began to talk about Easter Islanders and their overuse of their resources, I immediately made the connection that the society would fail due to their own choices. I finally had my connection to critical thinking.

Diamond raised to mind reasons why societies fail, with the four main reasons being: failing to anticipate a problem before it occurs, failing to perceive a problem when it is occurring, failing to solve a problem after individuals have perceived it, and failing to resolve the problem itself. It was interesting to see him bring these up because I felt that they were kind of useless. He was very hypocritical when talking about instances involving hindsight bias, but he was also very quick to judge the inhabitants of Easter Island for their choices.

It is easy to see how the Easter Island society failed now that the situation is removed from us, but we generally won’t apply this same mindset when trying to dissect problems with our own lifestyles. It is far easier to point our finger at the example on paper rather than direct our criticisms at the ways we need to amend our own lives for the betterment of society. For example, we may look at their need to create massive ahu and moai as rather excessive and state that had they not wasted their effort and resources to create these structures than the society would not have fallen apart. However, at the same time people could point to our use of cars eating away at the atmosphere and say that without cars/other technology we would not have destroyed Planet Earth in the ways that we have.

Charity Choice: Save the Children

The charity that we have chosen for our group Giving Games research project is called Save the Children. The primary focuses of this charity include aid in areas such as: child protection, child sponsorship, education, emergency response, health and livelihoods, hunger and nutrition, and HIV and AIDs. This charity works on a global scale incorporating 120 different countries across the world. Specific areas that the charity works with include: the U.S., Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East and Eurasia.

Taken directly from their website, Save the Children states that one of the goals of the organization is to “give children a healthy start, the opportunity to learn, and protection from harm.” The central goal of the charity is to give children the ability to succeed and it does so by working with its different resources for the education and health programs within the charity. For example, not only does the charity work to help children to better educate themselves, but they also aid in the mentoring of teachers, parents, and coaches so they can help children achieve that success mentioned above. One reason why this charity can be considered so effective can be the fact that such a large portion of the funds the charity receives is used directly for the program services implemented. The remaining funds 13% in funds are spent in areas of fundraising (8%) and management and other needs (5%).

Ultimately, when reading about this charity I found one of the main reasons why it would be most effective to donate to it is because financing the success of children and the youth of the world, particularly on a global scale, will provide greater benefits for society in the long run. Looking deeply into the charity and how it spends its funds, I found it to be very reputable and principled. I looked over the charity’s website and browsed in multiple different areas that the website provides. Overall, it hits you with an overwhelming amount of information and statistics about the charity. It also had up how the funds were used in the last couple years. There most certainly is not a lack of information on this charity. I also do not have a particular inclination or bias to this charity because I have never had a super personal experience with extreme poverty myself. As of right now, I stand by Save the Children and believe it should receive the funding from Jepson.

Despite all this, there are still a couple of concerns that my group will continue to address and revisit throughout this project. One main concern is that the majority of the information I looked at about the charity thus far (and I know they did as well), is the charity’s own website. We will clearly need to do more digging and see from other sources if the website is a truthful representation of the charity’s depiction of itself. One final concern that I have with this charity is how effective it is to use the funds in 120 different countries, rather than just zeroing in on the countries with the lowest poverty rate and helping those children out first and foremost.