Giving back to your community can be one of the best “life enhancing” moments. It can spark something deep within you that can’t be explained. Once you do it you just have to do it again and again. That is why there are people that dedicate their lives to giving by working in organizations that simply serve others. They give and the feeling is worth doing it again and again. You don’t have to dedicate your career to a cause to make a difference. Doing a little can make a large impact. Giving back by offering a few hours of your time can add up to a lot good.
I have heard people remark that they have nothing to give, no special skills, no money, no time, and the list goes on. A quote by Sir Winston Churchill sums up the act of giving back. He said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
I highly recommend that a person give back at least once a month. Surely everyone can give an hour or two once a month. If you watch at least 2 hours of TV a week then you can give 2 hours a month to giving back to your community by supporting some cause. You will get much more from those 2 hours of giving than you will by watching TV. I promise.
The best way to start is to either consider what you are passionate about or to consider what you are good at as far as talent, skills, hobbies, or activities. If you believe strongly about environmental causes or children then look around and consider where help is needed. Start by offering to help plant tree seedlings in your neighborhood park or perhaps you could offer to read children’s books at your local library for children’s hour or at a local community center. Organize a group of people to clean up and revitalize a neighborhood park by getting volunteers and donated plants, flowers, signage, paint, and other needs.
Teach someone to play an instrument, to paint a picture, to use a computer, or to read. You could also play an instrument or get together a band for a performance for disabled Veterans, paint a mural and spruce up a neighborhood community center, teach someone to use a computer so they can get employment or do their resume, or read to someone in a nursing home or hospital. There is much all of us can do.
With the approaching tropical storm Isaac, which will likely be a hurricane soon, you could offer to give your time to a shelter that will be caring for misplaced pets. Contact a local rescue group on http://www.petfinder.com and offer to foster an animal until it is adopted so that they can have room to take in a misplaced animal from the storm. If you can’t foster then gather items from neighbors and donate them to a local shelter or rescue group. They can use empty shoe boxes for litter boxes, blankets to keep sad and homeless animals off of cold concrete in shelters, and gently used collars to make animals look more adoptable. Food and cleaning supplies are always needed. Gather all those sample shampoos and conditioners from motels you collected and the free toothbrushes from your dentist and give them to a homeless shelter. They can also use gently used toys to give to children that come in with families looking for help.
Can you sew? How about sewing teddy bears or dolls to give to children that take rides in ambulances? Sew sock toys for dogs to play with at shelters, catnip toys for cats, slings for ferrets, and beds for the elderly homeless animals to make them comfortable. Sew baby blankets and give them to the Salvation Army and the Red Cross to share when items are needed for families in need.
Do you have a digital camera? Offer to take pictures of animals at the shelter that are available for adoption so they can be put on the Internet and increase their chances of being adopted. Team up with some beauty professionals and give makeovers to nursing home residents and take their picture to share with family members and give them a special day. Offer to take pictures on location of children in your community that are available for adoption. Capturing a special smile or moment could catch the eye and heart of an adoptive family.
Use your social media accounts to spread the word for organizations. Perhaps your Tweet about how to text a $10 donation to the Red Cross could raise money to help those impacted by Isaac or other disasters. You can follow them at @RedCross and just by re-tweeting their tweets on donation information or storm preparedness you help spread the word of how to help. You can donate a tweet by going to the Web site http://justcoz.org/ and find a cause you believe in by browsing through the list. You connect your account and once a day a tweet will go out from your account sharing information about that cause. You do nothing but sign up and you share information each and every day. Perhaps then you can tell others about JustCoz and the goodness spreads. Give two hours a month Tweeting or posting on Facebook about causes that need help.
Giving back can make a difference and it ripples. It spreads outward and the impact is far reaching. You take your dog on a therapy visit and a caretaker smiles and pets the dog. Throughout the day they are happier, less stressed and are more giving with the residents or patients. Meanwhile you and your dog visit the patients and they smile and are happier and more relaxed. Visitors at the hospital or nursing home enjoy meeting the dog and leave their visit with a smile and what may have been a hard thing to do was much more pleasant because you brought your dog. Your dog gets lots of petting and attention and you get to spend some quality time with your dog and share your friendship with others. You then return home and realize you just spent two hours the best way possible and life is good. The ripple goes on and on and on. It just took action on your part to start the ripple.
CAISO has always had members ready to give when we can and where we are needed. It’s one of the best parts about this Band. The opportunity to play and share our music with Veterans has always been something special to all of us.
We are actually days away from getting to give back to those that serve and protect our country. The Band will be leaving to Kosovo on a Goodwill Tour organized and made possible by Nicole Burdett of Pro Sports MVP and the USO. It will be a career moment for all of us as we look out at the audience and consider it actually a gift not for them but for us to be there and have the opportunity to give back. We are so excited to perform in this capacity.
Giving back is important. I can’t recommend it enough. It will change your life. It will lift you. Just give a little if that is all you have. Even a small rock can make a large and far reaching ripple in the water.
Share your ideas for how to give back or what it has meant to you to share of yourself to a cause. Leave a comment below. We’d love to hear from you and spread the energy.