Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Why I Try: Giving Back

Earlier this year, I heard about two little girls being raised by a single father who lost that father in a car accident. My heart sank for them and then all I could think about were those little girls. When I looked into my own children's eyes, I realized the magnitude of their loss. I decided to offer whatever little I could and ended up mailing two gift cards to the teacher that was now caring for the girls. I posted about it on my Facebook page and an old friend from high school decided to send some gift cards too! How beautiful and contagious is the spirit of giving?

I quite possibly chose my career because of this very spirit. Part of my profession is to teach a curriculum to at-risk youth struggling to graduate middle school. My deepest hope is that the contagious spirit of giving and success overcomes them too. I wish for them personal growth, transformation, and inner-peace. But I actually do more than wish, I serve them.

Some of these students are so broken. Broken to the point that getting them to say one positive thing about themselves is a great challenge. How can a child feel so bad about themselves that one simple word of affirmation out loud is impossible? Yet, I persist. I want to serve them if they allow it. I show up for them every week and they show up for me. If that is all I can give, somehow I know my commitment to showing up just might be enough! 

I believe in them. I care for them win or lose. I see the 6 or 7 classes they're failing and still find effort to compliment. I want the belief I have for them to become contagious too. I want my optimism to infest them and my acceptance to heal them. Whoever has rejected them to the point where they cannot speak kindly to themselves, doesn't have a place in our interactions. I don't mirror those sentiments and I see the slight but deep changes that bring these children one step closer to opportunities, freedom and self-respect. 

Surviving Hurricane Sandy 
So I give back personally and professionally. I give back because I find that life is about service. Life's greatest fulfillment comes from the simple acts of generosity that define the human spirit. 

Giving can be as simple as sending a $10 text to the Red Cross in times of need by texting: Red Cross to 90999 or as big as moving to an underdeveloped country to fully serve in development or relief efforts.

Every form of giving matters. 

Please take a moment to share your stories of giving back in the comment section below. Leave your email along with the comment and be entered to win a $25.00 gas gift card.

Julie Santos moved to Haiti to serve sweet children like Wadley (RIP)
Thank you for your comment.
More importantly, thank you for transforming our world one act of kindness at a time! 


  1. As someone who lives a very comfortable and blessed life I try to give back and help those less fortunate or who are ill. I've grown out and donated my hair to Locks of Love 4 times in the past 10 years or so. It's something that will mean so much to someone who just needs a feeling of normalcy while they fight for their lives. I ran a Daffodil Days program in my building at work for several years to collect donations for ACS. I've participated in Relay for Life teams and raised thousands of dollars for cancer research.

    But the most meaningful way I've given back is by volunteering for Tiny Loving Canines - a volunteer run adoption agency for dogs less than 15 pounds that were saved from the kill lists in local animal shelters. Animals bring so much joy and they need to be taken care of. As these babies wait for new furever homes I help to feed them, clean their beds and pick up more poo than I could have ever imagined. And in some cases - just give them the love and attention they crave. Never have I gone home so fithy and fulfilled. Animals are innocents and need our help. And for people like me - they are our babies. In honor of my "baby" Tippy I started volunteering there - to help other babies like her who also deserve to be treated with love and respect.

    1. Thank you so much for this thoughtful comment Dana. I appreciate the difference you're making in our world. Please reply with your email. Your comment actually enters you in our weekly giveaway. Thanks again for your feedback!

  2. I don't think I could have made it through some rough times in my life without someone who gave to me and for that reason I too give back in my profession and personally. I am a case manager for former foster youth. But more that being a case manager, I am one of, if not, the only positive adult support in their lives. Many former foster youth have been bounced around in foster care, not being taught basic life skills and than thrown out into the world, expected to survive! So as a case manager, I am basically parenting them to be self-sufficient and help find permanent housing. Recently, I have also become a mentor for first a year college student, through a program called The Puente Project. I'm excited to help this young lady navigate through her first year of college :)

  3. On a separate note, I just wanted to say to you Irene is that showing up every week is enough to the youth that you serve. One day, when they are young adults, they will remember you and what you taught them and the love and respect you showed them. And they will remember that there is at least one person who saw something special in them when no one else did...and it will motivate them!

    1. Thanks Jackie. Your kind words reassure me! Best of luck, btw. You've been entered to win this week's giveaway yet again!

  4. Please place an attribution ©Sheila Smart Photography under the image of the little girls at the pool. Images found on the internet are NOT free and you should have contacted me before publishing same. Normally I would demand the removal of the image but as your site is not "commercial" the image can remain with attribution.
    Sheila Smart
    Sheila Smart Photography

    1. Thanks for the heads up Sheila. We removed the photo. PS you photo was beautiful!


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