Pitching In and Digging Deep


Economically speaking, it’s been a rough few years for many families and their communities. Despite the hardships many people face they have still been able to lend a hand to others in need; giving their time and money. I enjoy watching the TV reality show Secret Millionaire, because the concept of giving is evident in the program. Millionaires are placed in poverty-stricken communities for one week and must live on a very modest stipend with no resemblance of their own lives; no cell phones, no credit cards and no contact with their families.

The participants don’t have a lot of time to dwell on the things they’re lacking in their new surroundings because they quickly seek out local organizations to offer assistance through volunteering. While they volunteer, the participants get an opportunity to see first hand how the organization directly impacts the community, for the better. In the end, although the participants return back to their lives of luxury, I’m sure their volunteer experiences stay with them.

Many of us might not have the monetary wealth of millionaires, but we are all rich because the invaluable rewards of giving are available to anyone.

Casually speaking and all the best,
Mercedes

Volunteering at your own Pace


You can volunteer from home and work at your own pace doing something you already enjoy. If you’re skilled at knitting, sewing, crocheting or quilting and have some time to spare, Project Linus could use your help. Project Linus is a non-profit organization whose motto is “providing security through blankets.” Project Linus was the birth child of Karen Loucks who was touched by an article she read in Parade Magazine on Christmas Eve, 1995. The article featured a young child who said that her security blanket helped her through chemotherapy treatments. Karen Loucks then decided to give homemade blankets to Denver’s Rock Mountain Children’s Cancer Center.

“Blankets are collected locally and distributed to children in hospitals, shelters, social service agencies or anywhere that a child might be in need of a big hug.” [Project Linus]

Volunteers who donate their time and talent, by making homemade blankets, quilts, knitted Afghans, comforters and receiving blankets to Project Linus are called “blanketeers”. The blankets are given to traumatized and seriously ill children and young adults, ranging in age from newborns to eighteen years old. Since September 2011, over 4,000,000 blankets have been donated to Project Linus. Not to worry if your talent isn’t sewing, knitting, crocheting or quilting, Project Linus will also accept a monetary donation to the organization.

Casually speaking and all the best,
Mercedes

No Waiting


Usually beginning around November there is a surplus of volunteerism in soup kitchens, nursing homes, shelters and the like, but why wait until then, help is needed year round. There are many people who volunteer in their communities without an appeal from any given organization. Then there are others who aren’t sure how they can be of service; what they have to offer or even where they feel comfortable working.  With so many organizations meeting the needs of the public, there’s plenty of places to lend a helping hand.

At a food  bank, for example, their main goal is to feed others, so they are always looking to have their shelves fully stocked. In your cupboard/pantry you might have some extra non-perishable items that can be bagged for a donation to a food bank. Going a step further, you might have a little time to spare where you can help to sort out the donations at the food bank. Then again, you might have a talent as an artist, musician or you’re creative with crafts, you could share that talent with a few seniors at a nursing home. Listening to music is soothing to the soul, so imagine how music could warm the heart of someone who rarely gets visitors, to have you sing to them or play a musical instrument. The list can go and on as to where your skills, ideas or presence can be benefit others.  Look within your neighborhood, search the internet, or in the next town or a few miles down the road where you can be the answer to a stranger in need who could use your help now.

All the best,
Mercedes

 

Vacations and volunteering


If you’re like many people getting ready to plan your next vacation you’re considering exploring new sites, meeting interesting people and seeking out adventure. For a few others, they take similar vacations but instead of lounging in the sun they labor until sundown. Volunteer vacations, by definition, is when an individual, family or group spend their vacation specifically to help others in need.

There are opportunities to build schools in Africa, revitalize a community in North America or aid the water conservation efforts in South America. The distance can be right in your own neighborhood or miles away from home. Many organizations, churches, synagogues and worthwhile charities would appreciate your help and your time. Investigate an area of interests and  find out what best suits your travel needs. Volunteer vacations aren’t very popular, but it’s an experience that will make an unforgettable and impacting vacation.

All the best,
Mercedes

Offer a Helping Hand


We all could use a helping hand some time or another in our lives. That help can come in many forms, such as making a donation to someone or an organization, spending time with others or rolling up your sleeves and getting dirty.

Recently, a group of us were privileged with the opportunity to help a deserving family realize the joy of home ownership, through the organization Habit for Humanity–partnering with Clark Howard (consumer advocate). We spent a brisk Saturday morning helping with the final touches to make the house complete. We helped with landscaping, painting, cleaning and minor additions that needed to be done. We happily worked along with the homeowner and one of her children to get everything done and at the end of the work day the house was dedicated to the family.


During the dedication ceremony, the homeowner expressed her appreciation to everyone who was involved from day one up to the last few hours. The smile on her face and the happiness she expressed was reward enough for a job well done.  It doesn’t take much, just enough to be the answer to someone in need. Give what you’ve got.

All the best,
Mercedes